Tuesday, July 31, 2012


This Lughnasadh, I am going camping! I will be camping down near Joe Pool Lake here in Texas, and I am so psyched! Of course, there will be pictures coming soon, though I am hoping not to be back until Thursday morning. This will totally go well!

My last hiking trip.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Blues - Pasta!

I know I haven't been writing last week - partly because of work, but mostly because I dunno what to post about.

But today I will introduce two new recipes! First up, Pasta. Here is how I make it.


1 lb - Delallo organic Fusilli pasta (whole wheat)
1 jar Emeril's pasta sauce (I like the Roasted Gaaahlic) or Newman's Own pasta sauce
1 lb ground turkey (93% lean)
1/4 can olives, sliced (I would prefer green, but I only had black. Also, I put in 1/2 can in pic)
1/2 jar jalapenos
1 or 2 bell peppers, color of choice, sliced (unfortunately, I didn't have any, so no bell peppers in pic)
1 onion (ditto above)

Brown the turkey, boil the pasta until al dente, and drain both. Throw everything into the pot, stir, and serve hot. Leftovers should be chilled and can be eaten cold later. Easy and quick!

Next, the drink!

1 gallon container
1-2 cups Real Lemon juice (depending on your wanted pucker)
1 cup sugar

Put the Real Lemon juice and sugar into the container, and fill the rest of the container with water. Stir, serve cold.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Blues - Tri Bean Chili

Since revamping my lifestyle, I have become a picky eater. I can't cook with butter anymore, fast food makes me sick, and my body actually craves things that I used to hate. However, taste is still my biggest issue! So, Mondays are new recipe days!

Today, Tri Bean Chili! I originally stumbled upon it at BodyBuilding.com and have since made modifications of my own. While it does take longer, the taste is phenomenal. This batch makes a weeks worth of food for three people.
Tri Bean Chili when it's done! Now that's tasting the rainbow.

  • 2 lbs. extra lean ground turkey(I get 93% lean turkey when I can. Ground chicken is also good)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 each of red, orange, yellow, and green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 4 - 4 oz. cans of Rotel (I use the cans with habenero peppers) (Do Not Drain)
  • 3 or 4 - 15 oz. cans Organic Tri-Bean Blend (drained)
  • 1 tbsp. organic sugar
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. regular yellow mustard (I use Dijion Mustard)
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. dried or fresh cilantro
  • Optional - 2 sweet banana peppers, chopped
  • Optional - 3 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • Optional - Sprouts (I used "Spicy Sprouts", but bean sprouts are good too)
In a big skillet, brown the turkey on medium heat. This shouldn't take very long, since turkey cooks faster than ground beef. Drain any fat and put the meat in a big pot. Take the skillet again and add onions and bell peppers with some olive oil and sautee until onions are soft or when the bell peppers are soft yet juicy/crunchy.

Meanwhile, add the Rotel (Do Not Drain), Tribeans (these ARE drained), and spices (and the banana peppers and jalapenos if you are using them) to the big pot, except the cilantro and sprouts. The pot should be on medium/sort of low heat (notch 5 on my 10 notch stove). The pot should be getting hot right around the time the onions and peppers are done. When they are done, throw everything into the big pot, stir, and serve hot.

If you like tea, try some Sun Tea with it. Put some water (hot or cold, doesn't matter) and tea bags into a glass jar, put outside, and bring in when the water turns dark. Especially good when living in the South/is Summertime. I personally don't think it needs sugar, but sweeten to taste.
Chili and tea, an awesome and surprisingly filling dinner.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Taking Stock

A few days ago I wrote about the Obesity Crisis that flared up in the Pagan community and got a lot of comments about it. Today, I am collecting all the issues raised in the comment section and will eventually link out this post. Some links will be posts I haven't written yet, others will be from across the net. For now, here are some of the ideas/issues more or less in order of comment.

  • David Grega's weight. Seriously, none of anyone's business. If you wanna drag that into things, then why not consider that his weight loss probably contributed to the stress on his heart. 
    • How if David had been "normal" looking from the get go, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
  • Peter Dybing, I put this in the comment section but I dunno if you saw. Thank you for commenting on that article. I hope that you didn't take the post as a personal attack; I wasn't attacking you, only the facts you presented. I still respect you and all that you have done. May you continue to be blessed.
  • Obesity Paradoxes. That one will be very fun.
  • Body and soul, working together, not to be separated. <--- from a link
  • Naturally fat animals, like camels, whales, elephants, bears and other hibernators, most mammalian marine animals, rodents, birds, reptiles, etc.
  • Importance of fat in the body and the importance of having fat in your diet.
  • Credentials, specifically mine.
  • Cash flow with the diet industry. Diet industry sucks (so does the FDA, btw)
  • HAES and food habits/relationships.
  • The relationship between disease and weight, namely that many diseases cause weight gain
  • Pagans, body acceptance, and what it means/how to do it.
  • ****True Scotsmen argument (If you were a REAL Pagan, you wouldn't be fat/would eat better/take care of yourself better/etc)
  • Discrimination in the Real World (esp in the medical field)
  • People were fat at the beginning of time. Only recently have humans decided thin was in. Art anyone?
  • Health, Argobiz, organic (isn't better), and cost to buy good food.
  • **** Address "questionable data" comment. If you cannot accept pure science, then I cannot help you. Your preconceived notions are too strong.
    • Common fat bashing debunked. ----> Round Shape
    • Debunk "if you would only eat healthier/fresher/local/grow it yourself."
  • Obesity only in Paganism, not New Age or Native religions? I think not.
  •  Disease appearing in animals that live longer, like dogs developing diabetes.
  • Weight Watchers IS a diet, even if you don't call it a diet. Also, WW sucks at people keeping the weight off.
    • Weight being a "choice" (hint: it isn't)**
  • Obesity is NOT an epidemic
  • BMI is a poor measurement of health, and was created for insurance companies to screw people over. Here is the Illustrated BMI Categories for those who are picture people.
  • Being criticized, ridiculed, and laughed at for just existing is a real, crippling, self destroying fear that has been conditioned into fat people. Body chemistry is physically changed after prolonged bullying and complete shut down actually happens. 
    • Dismissing someone's fear is beyond asinine.
  • Fat Liberation Manifesto
 Yes, I know some (most) of these don't have links. Be patient! I will dig soon enough.

Friday, July 20, 2012

TL;DR - Food Issues

Yesterday I wrote a post and have gotten very many hits on it, but as I try to comment, they are wiped out. So, while I get my blog fixed or something, I want to leave you with a background on how food, period. Yeah, I know the grammar doesn't work, but read it all and you will understand.

When I was about 5 years old, I was a cute kid. I had all the confidence in the world, was strong willed and very happy. Then, I went into kindergarten. My mother cried as I got onto the bus, but when I got home, I was the one crying. I was teased by my classmates for being fat. Fat? Yeah.

Me at five years old, being cute.
My mother, like any parent, brushed it off and probably said some nice words, and I went back to school again in a better mood and wanting to try to win over the other kid's hearts. It didn't happen, and the ridicule got worse. Every day, things got worse and worse. Yeah sure, it was just words, at first. Then it turned into physical assault, with stone throwing and sticks, literally! Punching, scratching, biting, pinching, kicking. My parents became very concerned and contacted the school, but it was brushed off as kids being kids.

So the years press on and I continue to be ostracized and ridiculed, with various bouts of physical abuse interwoven into the mental torture. If you think "torture" is a bit too harsh of a word, I would like to see you withstand days, months, years of being told you are worthless, that you should kill yourself, that you are nothing and unloved and hated, despised even. "Go away, you are a failure. You disgust me." So, I hated myself, loathed and despised my peers for rejecting me, and looked towards adults as some measure of protection, being the teacher's pet type of kid. I was diagnosed with Severe Clinical Depression at 7 years old, I believe.

Needless to say, I had already turned to food as a comfort and would binge and binge when I got home from school. I would snatch the peanut butter from the cupboard and eat it in my room, consuming it all before my parents got home so I could hide the jar. I hid candy and sweets in my room so I could eat them while I cried so I would feel better. Yes, I became overweight.

Me, age 8 I think. I was stuck in that shoe bin.
My third grade year I had the most awful teacher. Like the kids, she despised me. She would throw my things across the room, detain me after class despite possibly missing the bus, and would find fault in every action I did. Around the same time, or maybe just before, I was diagnosed with severe migraine episodes and was prescribed a pain killer. One of the saving qualities, however, were the animals the teacher had in the room.

One day I got in trouble for some ridiculous thing and she punished me by sitting me under florescent lights and made me hand copy the states and capitals while I watched the other kids play. All through that day I had complained of my head hurting. She blew me off all damn day. Between the odors of the animals, the screaming of the children, the lights, and stress, I could not see the paper because of the pain. She only let me go to the nurse when I started to sob uncontrollably. Later, when my mom came to pick me up, she could see something was wrong with me, but me being a stubborn kid, I didn't tell her anything. The very next day I woke up with a pounding migraine and two black eyes. The blood vessels around my eyes had burst from the pressure. My parents were livid to say the least.

Back at home, things went downhill fast. My parents couldn't control my eating habits and were stressed about my binging. They would buy food for the month and a week later most of it would be gone. My parents seriously thought about putting padlocks on the cupboards and the fridge. When I couldn't get food at home, I went to the neighbors and begged them for food. My parents went around the neighborhood telling people not to feed me. I took my lunch allowance and bought junk food, so my parents couldn't give me money anymore and wrote checks or deposited money into my school account. I would wrack up debt in the cafeteria buying junk, so much so that my parents forcibly told the lunch ladies not to put stuff on credit for me. After that, I would just steal money from my parents wallets and buy food that way. If my parents didn't know that, they do now.

I spiraled out of control in many areas of my life, eventually getting straight up 10s in my classes, where I had previously made 90s and above. I was super depressed with no help, an outcast with no friends, and alone most of the time. I was going through stages of starvation and binging, I guess called bulimia, by this point in an attempt to be thin. I would dream everyday that I was thin and popular and loved, I would dream so hard it hurt to wake up. At 14 years old, I woke up one day and decided to end my life, because I couldn't bear getting up anymore. I hated myself so much I could not even look in the mirror anymore, nor would I look down at my own body and had not done so in many years.

I went to school that day, thinking it would be my last day, and suddenly I was hit by a cosmic freight train. Most of you don't know this, but this was also the point in my life that I became a pagan. I can give details about this part later; all that needs to be said now is that I did not end my life that night, thank Goddess.

I did a major turn around in my life. I fought off my depression and since I had moved to a different state, I looked around and noticed that the people around me were pretty nice and was only avoiding me because I was distant and aggressive towards them (who could blame me tho?). I woke up from a fog, a deadness, a cold and distant place. I remember one instance of my music teacher telling me I should smile and me replying that I didn't know how. Another instance was my first hug by a new friend; I was so stunned I didn't know what to do.

I clawed and dug and tried to fix what was broken. Only recently have I changed my relationship with food. It's been 6 years now since I almost committed suicide. Now I eat in a way that not only pleases me mentally and taste wise, but also satisfies my bodies nutritional needs. I eat regularly, 5 to 6 small meals a day, and I exercise. I had ballooned up to 400lbs and am now trying to find my natural body weight. Now, I love myself and take care of myself. I am so much healthier now than I have ever been in my life. I am happy and outgoing and loved and accepted by my peers (mostly because I only surround myself with people who are awesome). I still have so much work to do, but you know, now I am happy just to walk around lazily until I get there.

For the first time in my life, I am ok with myself.

Me, May 2012.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Obesity! Crisis! Hits Pagan Community

One week ago, a young, well known, well liked member of the pagan community suddenly passed away. David Grega suffered cardiac arrest at the age of 27. Upon hearing this very tragic news, I thought to myself, "Surely the pagan community won't comment on his 'overweight' appearance, because they are better than that, right? Surely we won't be getting a flood of obesity crisis posts from big name pagans because they know better, right???"

This week, some big name pagans have posted about the Obesity! Crisis! (hereon called OC), and my fears were realized. (Un)Fortunately, what you hear/read is mostly the sympathetic, "help the fatties" sentiment. Questions were raised about conventions, events, activities, and speeches about health in our community, and while I think it would be a great idea to have people like Linda Bacon, Ph.D or Ragen Chastain speak at these places, I highly doubt these are the people that they were thinking about asking.

One common thread in every post can be summed up by Peter Dybing:

"One of the most valued principles within the Wicca community is that all bodies are sacred and beautiful."

I whole-heartedly agree! If he, and the others, had stopped at that, I probably wouldn't be writing this post. Dybing goes on to say, "This is so engrained in our culture that that we have developed a collective amnesia concerning the health affects of obesity." I really don't think that is true. I think that a good portion realize, consciously or subconsciously, that the mainstream belief on obesity is false, or at least that diets suck, and have ditched the body hate.

Dybing also gave a few OC data points. Let's look at them.

1) "Obesity is the #2 cause of preventable death in the United States" - It could be considered "preventable", if those who dieted/lost weight had a better chance then the current 5% success rate. No one knows how to make a naturally fat person thin, or vice versa for that matter. Diets do not work, and study after buried study is proving that. For instance, this 2007 UCLA study (pdf) looked at 31 earlier studies and determined that:

"[D]ieters were not able to maintain their weight losses in the long term, and there was not consistent evidence that the diets resulted in significant improvements in their health. In the few cases in which health benefits were shown, it could not be demonstrated that they resulted from dieting, rather than exercise, medication use, or other lifestyle changes. It appears that dieters who manage to sustain a weight loss are the rare exception, rather than the rule. Dieters who gain back more weight than they lost may very well be the norm, rather than an unlucky minority." (Emphasis mine.)
Also, this study, who were the original scientists who published the first paper on deaths by obesity, had this to say:
 "According to the [second] study, obesity and extreme obesity cause about 112,000 deaths per year, but being overweight was found to prevent about 86,000 deaths annually. Based on those figures, the net U.S. death toll from excess weight is 26,000 per year. By contrast, researchers found that being underweight results in 34,000 deaths per year." (Emphasis added.)
So, in with those actual numbers, Obesity would fall to #8, below firearms deaths and above STIs.

2) "60 million Americans, 20 years and older are obese" - Also, 40% of Americans have brown eyes, equaling to about 124 million.

3) "9 million children and teens ages 6-19 are overweight" - 16 million children live in poverty in the United States alone. If I had more time, I would draw the correlation between poverty, food deserts, and how that affects children. Also, this.

4) "Being obese increases the risk of health conditions and diseases including: Breast cancer, Coronary heart disease, Type II diabetes, Sleep apnea, Gallbladder disease, Osteoarthritis, Colon cancer, Hypertension and Stroke" - Actually, no. Obesity has: 

"been shown shown to protect against a variety of problems, including “infections, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, anemia, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and type 2 diabetes.” Fat people also have lower rates of emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hip fracture, tuberculosis, anemia, peptic ulcer and chronic bronchitis." 
 And being overweight and obese can actually boost your survival rate after a stroke. (If you need something a bit less science-y, check out this link.) Like Margot Adler said, "The truth is that fit overweight people usually don’t have many medical problems."

Now, specifically moving to the Firefly Chronicles post, let's talk about a few things. If you remove the mention of obesity from Iris Firemoon's post in the beginning, you have an article about the Natural Food diet (diet here meaning what you eat as opposed to diets like Weight Watchers). It's about eating healthier and being in good shape to improve your life and it touches on some of the problems people face in the U.S, like insurance coverage and questionable restaurant foods. In ways, she echos threads from Health At Every Size.

But then it starts getting dicey at the end, and I get a particular rub with "Making healthier choices is not an easy start.  It hurts at first.  It doesn't taste good at first.  It doesn't bring us pleasure at first." and "How does the community, with the resources available, address obesity?" Obesity isn't the problem, people who think that obese people aren't doing X, Y, or Z and are fat because of it are the problem. People who think they can judge a person's health by the way that they look are the problem. People who think they can simply judge people are the problem. Fat shaming is the only discrimination where the victims actually believe they deserve it. They don't, no more than anyone else deserves it. No one deserves hatred of any kind. [EDIT: Isis Firemoon has since changed her article. For context, and to preserve the article, I'm leaving these two paragraphs up.]

How then should the Pagan community deal with it? Like they always do, with science as their partner and human rights Second in Command. With a posse of facts and the normal banter.

Here then, are my facts for a better alternative, the HAES alternative.

First and foremost:
 "Poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle do cause health problems, in people of all sizes. This is why it’s so fucking crucial to separate the concept of “obesity” from “eating crap and not exercising.” The two are simply not synonymous — not even close — and it’s not only incredibly offensive but dangerous for thin people to keep pretending that they are. There are thin people who eat crap and don’t exercise — and are thus putting their health at risk — and there are fat people who treat their bodies very well but remain fat. Really truly."
"Health at Every Size is based on the simple premise that the best way to improve health is to honor your body. It supports people in adopting good health habits for the sake of health and well-being (rather than weight control). Health at Every Size encourages:
• Accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.
• Eating in a flexible manner that values pleasure and honors internal cues of hunger, satiety and appetite.
• Finding the joy in moving one’s body and becoming more physically vital."

Third, HAES is more effective to long term health than dieting:

"Cognitive restraint decreased in the health at every size group and increased in the diet group, indicating that both groups implemented their programs. Attrition (6 months) was high in the diet group (41%), compared with 8% in the health at every size group. Fifty percent of both groups returned for 2-year evaluation. Health at every size group members maintained weight, improved in all outcome variables, and sustained improvements. Diet group participants lost weight and showed initial improvement in many variables at 1 year; weight was regained and little improvement was sustained."
This, and this and this and this and this and this. This with tears and shaking anger. This with happiness. This with gusto and fervor. This for the bookworm in me, and this with sadness.

The question then becomes, why didn't we have this lifestyle in the first place? The next question is why don't we adopt it now that we know about it?

By accident, I stumbled across an article about stereotypes (regarding immigration and work, but whateve') and it errily fits this situation somehow.
 "As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once pointed out, the problem with stereotypes isn’t that they’re untrue; it’s that they are incomplete. If you go to Mexico, you can find a guy in a sombrero playing mariachi music. He does exist. But he can’t represent all of Mexico."
Yeah, you will have the stereotypical fat person who is sooooo fat that they cannot move by themselves or even get out of bed. But no matter how you cut it, that person can't represent all of the fat people. Hey, isn't that just like the saying about how no one pagan can represent the whole? Hmmm.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I have always craved milk since I was a little girl, until very recently. I always had a strong urge to guzzle that jug down and be done with it, and never really knew why. I always thought I needed the calcium or just wanted the taste.

Two random facts floated through my life a few days ago, and it has cropped up over and over. One: a person is recommended to have 50 grams of protein a day and Two: milk is, after you remove the fat and calcium, a good source of protein (8-10g a serving, actually). Now that I can afford to buy whey proteins, I find that I stop craving milk when I have the whey.

It strikes me, and gives me a conformation of HAES, that all this time my cravings weren't for certain foods or drinks, but for the certain nutrients that the foods contained. Maybe this is why, after consuming the nutrients I need, I have dropped a considerable amount of weight. Maybe it has more to do with the fact that I have had no choice up until now in what I could feed myself and never even considered this possible. I am curious now to what other things I crave and why! Journey on, journey on.