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The Anti White-Whine, To Your Satisfaction

4 Aug

So I was recently made aware of the existence of, where people repost examples of other privileged people complaining about petty inconveniences.

I don’t know if it counts as “whitewhining”, but it got me thinking that, honestly, the dominant mode of discourse in my family really is complaining.

That’s weird to say because I consider us a fairly happy lot, but anytime we’re all together, we just bitch about everything!  I feel like it’s one way of sharing our day-to-day with each other.  It’s the fabric of the way we converse: one person complains, another commiserates, and we strangely feel closer.

And that’s alright with me, but I think it’s also good for state of mind to find absolutely no fault sometimes.  Pick something you just can’t complain about no matter how hard you try!

I can’t find a way to make any complaints about:

  • Hiking: spending time outside & exercising around nature
  • Eating seafood: I learned how in 2009, and now I’m never going to stop!
  • My Victoria’s Secret wall: the yellow pinstripes give me a sunny disposition, and they remind me of all my friends who helped me to make them :]

    cafe 21, north park

  • Champagne cocktails: (pictured here, raspmosa)
  • Edible flowers on top of food: (pictured here, nasturtium on poached eggs)

Intuitive Eating, To Your Satisfaction

17 Jul

Not to brag, but I actually lost weight on vacation.  While eating stuff like the chamomile creme brulee pictured above!  And it’s such a relief.

Writing down everything that you eat for two whole months makes you hyper-aware of the pervasive nature of food.  Exhausting hardly begins to cover it.  I’m grateful that I’ve learned how to eat in a healthier way, but I can’t go on being afraid of the things I love forever.

So I decided to just say, “fuck it,” and go on a real vacation from all the head games with food.   I was nervous about going off the wagon, but I think I knew intuitively that I could make good decisions.  Trusting myself in that way again felt foreign and very, very nice.

The craziest thing to say is that it was really easy.  I scavenged what I could from the continental breakfast, went outside and moved around a lot during the middle of every day, had fancy dinners with my sister, and everything turned out okay.

tree pose at the gravity garden in Carmel

I guess it’s all about striking a balance :]




Handmade Trail Mix, To Your Satisfaction

12 Jul

I’m so hungry for everything right now – food, views, life!  I was walking around the forest today, catching glimpses of pretty little bays and inlets through the trees, and thinking “I want to go to there.”  So, I used my legs and went to there!  Repeat as necessary, and chase with:

  • Teddy grahams
  • Cocoa almonds
  • Dehydrated blueberries


Point Lobos preserve, North Shore trail

Photo credit  1,2: personal

A Defense of Diet Coke, To Your Satisfaction

30 Jun

As far as I’m concerned, the only soda in the world (diet or otherwise) is Diet Coke.  I don’t drink it because it tastes like caloric Coke, I just purely love the way it tastes.  The flavor has got that je ne sais quoi, unnamable quality .  I mean, I certainly wouldn’t describe it as caramel, though I’ve sometimes heard that was the original prototype for the elixir’s flavor.  And the ingredients do include vanilla and cinnamon, but again, that’s definitely not what I would call it.

In any case, I don’t really care that I can’t name the flavor.  I feel like I’ve been catching so much flack for drinking Diet Coke lately, though!  I’ve been making appointments with a trainer/nutritionally minded person as of late, and part of what that entails is keeping records of everything I eat and drink.  Every time that diet soda plays part of the day’s log, the red pen comes out.

And I understand that from a nutrition standpoint, Diet Coke is an empty food.  It’d be better to drink water.  Duh.  But what I think is being discounted here is that – okay, let’s say it’s a given that at some mealtimes you want a beverage that isn’t water.  Now, on the spectrum of Non-Water Drink Choices, hasn’t Diet Coke got to be a lot smarter than many many other options?  Like Coke. Or a smoothie. Or beer.

So what I suppose I’m trying to say is, let me drink my diet soda in peace! Stop telling me that it will make me fat! I took Data Methodology classes in undergrad, and I know that there’s a difference between correlation & causation!

The afore-linked article references a study where people who drank diet sodas were shown to have bigger waistlines than those who didn’t. To that I say – so what! Just because you can prove that the kind of person who is drinking diet soda is more likely to be fat, you can’t prove that diet soda is the reason they’re fat.

Here’s a related example that draws on the same logic: My sociology professor told us in class once that people who read the newspaper report feeling safer & trusting the government more than people who watch the news on television. He asked us why that might be.

Lots of people sat there pontificating on how perhaps the newspaper doesn’t report as much violent crime, or television makes us jaded.  That’s looking for Causation, the same as saying that drinking Diet Coke causes you to be overweight.

The reason turned out to be that, on average the kind of person who reads the newspaper is older than people who get their news from television, and older generations report trusting the government more.  That’s Correlation.

The point is that Diet Coke can, but doesn’t have to, accompany bad eating choices.  If you eat an entire large movie popcorn and wash it down with diet soda, I can see how that would cause your waist to expand.  And plenty of people do exactly that.  But what if I want to eat broccoli with my Diet Coke, can you look me in the eye and tell me that’s wrong?

Photo credit1
Photo credit 2

Clean Yoga Mats, To Your Satisfaction

27 Jun

I enjoy yoga as much as the next person.  Stretching and contorting and letting the blood rush to your head is always good practice, and nothing gets rid of a headache faster.  But I’m also part of the school of thought that for it to be a good workout, you should be sweating, right?  So I’m a big fan of vinyasa yoga since it gets you moving.  I like hot yoga from time to time (I’ve never encountered another exercise that makes my ankles sweat)

But one, possibly obvious, caveat to this athletic approach to yoga is that you’re dripping all over the mat.  I don’t want to scale back my intensity, but I also am struck by the feeling that a yoga mat is, well, absorbent material.  So basically, a good cleaning method is needed.

a good clean feeling

I tried a few different articles with suggestions { here } {here } ranging from throwing it in the washing machine to diluted dish soap and essential oils in a spray bottle.

I didn’t want to put it in the wash because I feel like the agitation would tear it up. Actually, I liked the idea of the tea tree oil best because it’s a natural astringent.  But I didn’t feel like driving to the store, so I used what I had on hand.

Attempt 1: I have a surplus of face toner right now, the first two ingredients of which are water and isopropyl alcohol.  Sounds like a cleaning agent, yeah?  So I suppose if I’m willing to clean my face with it, then I can clean my yoga mat, which sometimes has my face resting on it.  I used a damp sponge and just threw some toner on the mat and scrubbed it around.  This was not satisfactory, and I do not recommend it.

Attempt 2: I then turned to a solution of baking soda and water. Which is natural, and totally effective!  In fact, I was so pleased that after I finished with the mat, I went to town on my walls, door, and switchplates, and it all worked nicely.

Are there any cleaning shortcuts that you use?

Photo credit 1

Photocredit 2

A (Relatively) Low-Carb Pancake, To Your Satisfaction

19 Jun

Who knew you could put 30g of protein into pancakes?

I’ve been doing the whole limited carbohydrate lifestyle lately. And while I feel healthier and more energized than ever before, it’s definitely a love/hate relationship. The hardest part for me? Finding satisfactory substitutes at breakfast time. I never used to be an “egg person” (unless part of French toast). And on its own, I find the blandness and texture of cottage cheese just offensive.


But in my quest to include lots of protein and healthy carbs in my diet, I’ve had to find creative ways to prepare and eat this stuff. I actually did grow to like eating eggs at breakfast, but I miss the sweet things. And with these cottage cheese pancakes, I think I really stumbled upon something that would make anyone happy to leave the old, flour-laden cakes behind forever!! It’s really hard to believe that a mixture of mostly eggs and cottage cheese would result in something that has the general, satisfying texture of pancakes, but I swear that it does. And they cook up beautifully just like “real” pancakes, as long as you keep them at medium heat.

Yes, Virginia, there really are 6 grams of protein in there

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

2 whole eggs, 1 egg white

1/2 c. cottage cheese (1% milkfat)



1/3 c. dry instant oats**

en route to being pancakes

1. Mix all eggs, cottage cheese, and assorted flavorings together with a fork. You could also add orange or lemon peel/extract if you happen to have that; I think that would be a nice addition.

2. After you beat the cottage cheese mixture, stir the oats in and let them absorb for a minute.

3. Drop batter onto heated skillet and cook pancakes until you can tell that the egg is cooked through.

4. Serve with syrup, sugar-free syrup if you’re feeling virtuous, or heated up orange marmalade if you’re feeling French.

I used blackberries and apricot jam because I was feeling... Croatian?

** I’m a big fan of steel cut oats, and I tried using them for this recipe, but they were terrible because all the non-processed resilience that makes them so healthy also makes them stay very crunchy in a pancake. Quakers instant or anything comparable works a lot better.

photo credit 1: personal

photo credit 2:

photo credit 3: /a> also, a very instructive history of egg cups

photo credit 4: personal

photo credit 5: personal