all the things

A list of things.

Food Part 1 - over the past two months, food has changed drastically for us. Em, because of persistent heartburn and general phlegminess, opted to cut out dairy. While I haven't completely cut out dairy, there are just things that we don't buy at the grocery store anymore that were staples before - no milk, no cheese, etc. I buy butter, because I bake often and because that's just not something I am constitutionally capable of divorcing without good reason. I would estimate that I consume less than four tablespoons of butter per week, though, so more often than not it all goes into baking, which is usually something I give away rather than eat. I don't have any objections to Earth Balance for cooking and toast-making purposes.

Overall, Em has felt SIGNIFICANTLY better without dairy. No more heartburn, no more phlegm, increased energy, etc. I went off dairy completely for a year a few years ago, after I was misdiagnosed with a dairy allergy, and I also had the same reaction. I have found that when I do eat cheese or drink milk, it either affects me gastrointestinally (sorry) or I just feel like crap. Usually there is an internal dialogue that goes something like this:

Self: Are you sure you want to feel crappy after you eat that cheese?
Self: Well, what kind of cheese is it?
Self: Do you really think it matters?
Self: Is it gruyere? Or triple-creme brie? OMG is it manchego?
Self: You are really not listening to me.
Self: *completely inside our 12"-wide pantry* I swear to god I have ak-mak in here! Ak-mak plus cheese equals OMG!
Self: Sigh.

Mark Bittman wrote a two part series (1, 2) about cutting out dairy for the NYT, and it was validation/motivation for us in our efforts to just find other ways to eat.

Food Part 2 - two months ago we started with a local farm share that was available through my work. For $25 per week, we get enough veggies to keep us well-fed and healthy from a local co-op of organic farms. We've had tons of cabbage, rainbow chard, kale, arugula, spring lettuce mix, tomatoes, corn, onions, garlic, and so on. It has been SO GOOD for us to really buckle down and focus on eating these things that come home with me each Friday. I started a little inspiration Tumblr full of recipes great for farm share foods, and we've also done more reading about the best ways to prepare the foods for maximum health impact. We're by no means experts in the field of nutrition, but I think that we've really made a concerted effort to do better for ourselves.

I've also brought my lunch to work everyday since we started with the farm share (I cannot convey to you how much I sucked at that for way too long), and focused on consuming 5-9 fruits and veggies daily. We do divert off the cook-at-home path occasionally, and our food choices are not always perfect, but we are trying at that is awesome. We both feel incredible, with more energy. And we've trimmed down our grocery budget TREMENDOUSLY by focusing on simple meals during the week. It is seriously so awesome. I'm no expert, and I'm not going to make you shopping lists or anything, but we found our groove and it's awesome. A million thanks to Em, without whom none of this would be possible. Sometimes I come home and all I want to do is craft, and Em has been steadfastly committed to making dinners and prepping lunch in the morning. I've got a good one!

Sewing - A few weeks ago, I posted on Facebook about making up with my sewing machine. We've been on the outs for over a year. The last time I sat down with it, I wanted to throw it through a window. But, also, I needed to sew something and could no longer put it off. So I pulled the machine out of the box and set it on my desk. We had a long, hard stare at one another and then I tried to push some fabric through. Tension was messed up. Edited. Tried again. Same story. I fought back the urge to throw the machine outside the window again, but decided to try something else. I pulled out the crap thread I had loaded into the machine and realized that I might've threaded it incorrectly. I re-threaded a different thread and lowered the presser foot. I gently pushed some fabric through AND IT WORKED. I think I danced around the apartment for a solid 20 minutes. Then I made some felt bunting and started on a bunny plush, which you see above. I still have no idea what I sat down to sew, though.

Fun - We turned a rained out party frown upside down on Saturday by pulling out a stash of fireworks and sparklers at Angela's mom's house out in the country. I felt like a kid again. I also sang America the Beautiful with lit sparklers, gesturing rhythmically with my arms, only to realize afterward that Angela's brother was standing right behind me, mirroring my movements. Patriotism!

Seamus - Finally, that dog. He has been in a cone for months at this point, as we try to figure out why his chin is so itchy that he attempts to scratch through his face whenever he has access to it. Two nights ago, we tried some cone-free time and he lasted about two hours. Last night he was cone-free for three hours PLUS overnight. I'm not entirely sure he cares whether he has the cone on or not, but you would've thought Em and I had just witnessed the most amazing thing ever seen each time he did something sans cone. "OH MY GOD! He's drinking water!" "Look! He's sitting down!" "He's a genius! He pulled a toy out of his crate!" We also realized that he's pretty damn adorable, too.

So, that's what's up. How are you guys?


  1. Ah! I love food updates ... And I'm not even kidding. I love hearing about people finding their groove and doing good things to help their bodies feel great. I've recently found mine and I can't explain how great it feels.

    As far as that cute little pug and his scratching, is his food grain-free? Our vet explained to us just how much grain can bother a dog in so many different ways (although we already fed him a grain-free food). I know another dog who is frequently coned because he licks a spot on his leg raw, mostly as an OCD-type deal :| Their vet prescribed doggie Prozac and his life has changed IMMENSELY. So glad to hear your little guy is making progress!

    1. His food IS grain free - we switched to a sweet potato/fish natural food a few months ago. He really likes it and it has helped his coat tremendously. We are taking him to the vet on Friday because we think it's something behavioral/obsessive. He can do many things without the cone and be just fine, but the moment you stop entertaining him or keeping him in an engaging environment, he will scratch. He's also started obsessively licking our sofa and ottoman, the corners specifically. We are A-OK taking a trip down Prozac Lane to get this crap to stop. :-)

  2. Ah! We have the same inner dialogue when it comes to cheese. We rarely eat dairy (generally only when we're at someone else's house and we feel vegetarian is easier to accommodate than vegan) but when I do it's cheese. It caaaallls to me!! I'm so glad you linked to the second Bittman post. I had read the first but I'm curious to see what he has to say about milk. We don't give our son milk, at all, ever, and people treat us like we're super crazy/depriving him of the essential childhood source of health/nutrition. But let's not even get me started on that one.. :)

  3. What a gorgeous little pug! I couldn't resist commenting on this :)


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