There is a conspiracy regarding my health…

I have heard a lot of noise about Obamacare this and Satancare that and I do have some opinions on the subject, although they are largely irrelevant.  Let me just say, though, that I think there may be changes afoot and it’s about time.

If you are super political and/or super conservative, you will not like what I’m about to say, but I am not mad about Obamacare and here’s why:

I have spent most of my adult life without healthcare benefits and, therefore, without healthcare.  When I left corporate America, I did not realize how much losing healthcare benefits would mean in my life.  I was in my 20s and pretty healthy, overall.  Any health blips that had occurred, were isolated incidents and didn’t seem to mean that much.  I struggled with my weight and I knew that I had PCOS, but all doctors had ever said about any of it was “lose weight” and I really had to insist to get the PCOS diagnosis, but got no real information about it afterwards.  

Meanwhile, I had a life to lead. 

I went to work for myself around that time and my boyfriend at the time put me on his benefits.  After we broke up, he left me on there for a few months, but eventually he got too nervous and I couldn’t blame him, so I got dropped. That was 10 years ago.  When my benefits were dropped, so were almost all attempts to seek medical attention for anything other than acute cold symptoms and an STD check or two.

As a self-employed person in a competitive industry, I was busy and broke pretty much all of the time.  During the times when I was not quite broke, I usually made myself broke trying to keep my wardrobe or car or home from completely falling apart.  Please do not get the idea that I buy a lot of clothes or anything, but I’m fat and fat people have limited options for shopping (much more so 10 years ago, even) so we buy what fits and those things are generally not on sale.  I, for one, wore my clothes until they fell apart – the same 3 outfits day after day – always planning my outfits according to who saw me wear it last so that people didn’t know I had to wear the same damn thing all the time. I had to have some nice clothes for work, nice shoes, a decent bag, and when you add that shit up, you can spend a few hundred a year.  Layer on a few hundred in car repairs and one big trip to the grocery store or Target and one can be broke again in mere minutes.  Going to the doctor never seemed like a good use for my resources, because it was expensive and not all that helpful and there was nothing pressing and if I spent my money trying to get ahead, perhaps I actually would and I could go to the doctor then.

Then never came.

I may not be describing it properly, but the bottom line is that there was never enough money for a doctor, health care costs being what they are, because a doctor means lab work or sonograms or some other testing that I couldn’t afford.  And it meant doctors that just wanted to dismiss me as lazy or disgusting or not someone who actually had health problems so much as horrible beasts who shouldn’t inflict their fat upon hapless Doctors who were just trying to make a living on six figures a year and drive Mercedes that they don’t even use for work, but just to have a nice commute.

I digress.

I could go into more details, but I am hoping that I do not have to.  I am hoping that anyone who reads this will naturally be able to intuit that life is hard and expensive and challenging and that I, a reasonably intelligent and educated person, did the best I could with the resources that I had.

And before anyone goes lambasting me for choosing the risks of self-employment over a nice, secure, benefit-included job in the corporate sector… you should know that my choices in that venue were limited, as well.  The job I had was unbearable and in the five years that I spent in it, another individual who shall remain nameless and unlabeled, got themselves arrested using my name and ID numbers.  Multiple times.  And rendered me largely unemployable.  You doubt me?  You should not.  

In that time frame, the world switched to online-self-directed background checks, so any bozo with the “hiring manager” in their job description could run your background, but not one of the hiring managers working in the private sector knows how to read one.  When searching my name, they discover a very long arrest history with lots of drug-related charges, they (100% of the time) failed to see the part where it says that my name was used as an alias by this Other Person.  And only 1 in 100 of these hiring managers believed me, even after I produced letters from people with the State and the GBI and whatnot explaining the situation.  Either they did not believe me or they chose not to take the risk, but either way, I was screwed to the wall by the actions of another person.

And before you go poking at me with things like “why don’t you get your record cleared?”, let me just tell you that ten years ago it would have cost me $10,000 PER CHARGE for the attorney alone and only might  have been successful.  One attorney intimated that the chances of successfully expunging my record were less than 10%.  Even if I had the money, which I most certainly did not, I did not have the time or the spirit for a battle that was so easily lost.

Fortunately for me, the state DOES know how to read someone’s criminal history so I had no trouble getting licensed in my state for my current profession.  Not an ounce of trouble.  I didn’t even have to produce my official letters and such.

Self-employment, it turns out, is great in a lot of ways and I do not in any way regret my decision to leave a job I HATED for a job that I LIKE, even at the cost of benefits.

Why not purchase benefits for myself in the interim, you ask?  I will tell you.  I was unable to do so because I was fat.  For 10 years, I was UNINSURABLE.  Health insurance companies do not like fat people.  I had no other health problems, mind you.  No blood pressure issues.  No diabetes.  No nothing, besides the PCOS and the fat.  The fat, of course, due at least partially (likely, LARGELY) to the PCOS.  A health problem made me fat and fat made me uninsurable.  How very American.

Now with Obamacare, they cannot deny me insurance.  I am married and have insurance through my husband anyway, but even that has created major challenges in our lives.

See, I got married about 5 years ago.  That’s awesome and all – really great!  But shortly after we got together, the economy tanked.  He got laid off.  I took a full time job as a temp at a construction company (no background check until you are hired permanently) to get us through, because commission-only pay is FAR too sketchy to support 2 people, 2 dogs and 2 cats.  He got a crappy, lower-paying job eventually, then I got laid off (no construction in a down real estate market).  I got another temp job at an environmental company.  The store where he worked closed.  He got interim work for less than minimum wage.  I got laid off – apparently no one cares about the environment when there’s a recession at hand.  He got a retail sales job for $12/hour.  No benefits.  I got a job for a really terrible property management company.  Total slums working for scumbags and no benefits (also no background check, thank you very much).  His job was terrible.  My job was terrible.  I stuck with it for 10 months, but the terrible property management company went belly up (no surprise) and I said, well, jobby-jobs are working out for me, I’ll take my chances with self-employment again where I might be broke, but at least I won’t get laid off. 

Around and around we go.  I’ve been back in self-employment for 3 years and I make a living, but I’m far from rich.  My husband and been through a few jobs and is finally in one he can stand with decent hours and benefits, but of course, low pay.  If my father in law didn’t help us out sometimes, we’d be screwed.  

So I have benefits, but I got them right about the time Obamacare started rolling out it’s “Sign Up Now” website, so I could have had benefits anyway.

All those months and years of my husband looking for work, though, his options were limited to “jobs with benefits” otherwise neither of us would have any healthcare because we can’t pay for it and in this country, you are better off dead than owing money to doctors.  For the record, jobs that provide benefits pay less, so it’s a trade off, either way.

Sigh.  It’s depressing to think about, so I’m going to leave this here for now and come back another time.

xox

 

In other news…

You know how I said in that one post, one time, that I was going to write a book?  

I did.  I wrote a book.  I wrote about 230 pages of a book.  It is a first draft and I wrote it several months ago, but I have not had a chance to go back and edit any of it or to add/subtract all the stuff that I want to add and subtract, but nevertheless, I do actually do the things I say I’m going to do.  One way or another.  In my own time.

I wrote a mystery novel.  

I have another book in my head that wants to come out, too.

And then another after that.

I will never publish any of them, just fyi, but thought I would share.

*tap tap tap* Is this thing on? *blows into mic*

Hey, I know no one is out there reading this.  I mean, only like 2 people read it in the first place and then I abandoned it for nearly a year, but so what?   One day, some really persistent person is going to google something relevant and this is going to pop up.  And then they will learn stuff.  It might only be stuff about me, but it will be stuff.

Since nothing about my weight has changed – the whole “get healthy” thing failed miserably – I find myself starting over from square one.  I will catch you up.

I have no idea how far I got with detailing the adventure before now, and GOD KNOWS I am not going to read my old posts, so I will just say that living with a man who wants to eat meat, fat, meat, bread, meat, dessert, chocolate, and more dessert is REALLY A GIANT PAIN IN THE ASS if you are fat, have metabolic problems, and want to get healthy.  Okay?  Okay.  I’m not blaming him for my failure, but it’s all his fault.  If I were a machine or a different person or, you know, someone with some willpower, I’m sure I would have succeeded so you go ahead, Mr. or Ms. I-Am-So-Motivated-I-Can-Do-Anything, but you I am not.

So, my attempt to go mostly vegetarian.  Failed.

My attempt to go vegan, even partially.  Failed.  Laughably so.

My attempt to make my plate half greens.  Failed.

My attempt to eat a hub cap sized salad every single day.  Failed.

My attempt to learn some healthy recipes.  Not a total failure.  I am learning to cook.  It’s pretty sweet.

My attempt to lose any weight by virtue of healthier eating.  Failed.

My attempt to quit smoking.  Depends on your definition of Failed.

My attempt to exercise more.  Does sleep count as exercise? No? Failed.

My attempt to go all organic.  Failed.  But only partially.

My attempt to go gluten-free.  Failed.

My attempt to stick with any of these attempts.  Failed.

Now is the time when one might just, say, give entirely up and curl up in a corner to die of adult onset diabetes or cardiac arrest, but “NO!” I cry.  I shall not give up.  Give me liberty or give me death.  Oh yeah, death was kind of the whole thing anyway, so forget I said that.

And actually, it’s not death I’m afraid of so much as living a shitty, unhealthy life where I can’t do things or travel or even walk to the mailbox and back.  I mean if death happens, so be it, but let’s face it – barring accident or act of terror or something really stupid and untimely, what I’m actually going to be dealing with is a life of ever-decreasing mobility and vibrancy and happiness.  I would rather wait to deal with those things until I’m in my 70s or 80s, thanks.

The good news is that I have successfully quit all real cigarettes and am now entirely electronic.  And that, I’m pleased to report, is in ever decreasing amounts.  I refuse to stress about it and will continue to use the e-cigs as desired rather than pile more “shoulda coulda woulda” onto my plate, but the longer I’m e-only, the less I need it.  I, in no way, consume as much nicotine as I did prior, and I no longer inhale millions of deadly chemicals (just the 3 or so), and I’m no longer tanning my face and hands like an ugly speckled piece of leather (I have freckles), so that is a good enough start for me.  Pat pat pat.

More good news is that I am still working on getting healthy and I am grateful for the last year of attempts and failures, because I think I’m on a better track.  I was on a good track before, don’t get me wrong, but it was like a GIANT track with A WHOLE LOT OF GIANT CHANGES on it ALL AT ONCE and I think we all know that means certain failure for most of us.  At least, it did for me.  So my much better “baby steps” track should have a far greater chance of success.

I have many more things to tell you, but will break them up into multiple posts so as not to overwhelm you. You, the reader that does not exist.

I’m not blaming you for not reading.  Really.  I have no expectations for you, my non-readers.  I have failed you, who do not exist, repeatedly for months.  I would say that you are entirely forgiven, my little nonexistent friends, but of course, you don’t exist and there’s nothing for to forgive.

Makes sense.

xo

I warned you from the start!

I abandon blogs with abandon.  If you know what I mean.

But I didn’t really abandon this one, just pressed pause for, you know, a long time.  Here’s why:

No good reason.

Also, I fell off the food-wagon because it’s too hard.

Also, I got really really busy with work. Damnit.  I was super enjoying the down time.  Bastards expecting me to work.

Also, I decided to write a book.  Fiction.  Just fluff, really.  I will not be posting any sort of summary or synopsis or excerpts or any of that jazz.  I have no idea how to write fiction, I just want to do it.  I have 12 pages.  Twelve whole pages.  It’s like the longest paper I ever wrote in college.

Let’s discuss the food-wagon.  Really, it should be called the food truck, because they’re trendy?  And everyone likes them?  But it’s a wagon.  Anyway, it is so hard and takes so much work to stay on the food wagon.  I have to tangle with my husband virtually every day, he feigns total ignorance about the goals and loses all motivation to contribute anything at all to food prep, so that leaves it all up to me.  I got busy and couldn’t go to the stores every week and certainly couldn’t make it to the specialty stores or farmer’s markets.  As my work days grow longer – something that happens every Spring and Summer and well into Winter – my food gets worse and worse.  I have crap going on every weekend for six weeks in a row which you can deduct from my food prep time.

Without having the food on hand and without the time to prepare food, I am lost.  My husband is all-up-in-it (the kitchen, that is) nowadays because it’s all meat and wheat and sugar and shit, so I have plenty of help with food prep when we don’t give a crap what we’re eating.  It’s rather heartbreaking, actually.  I feel a bit dejected and quite a bit resentful.  I have no one in my corner with this.  Okay, well, that’s not true.  I have no one in my house with this.  Plus, if I relent one time on cookies, my husband takes it as a precedent and then brings cookies home every day (or the equivalent).  And I’m not strong enough to not eat them, people.  And it doesn’t matter what I say to him, the cookies/cakes/ice creams keep appearing.  So then I’m all, fine, yes a cupcake would be great.  Because cupcakes are great in every way except the way in which they are detrimental to my health.  And then the man, who cannot be bothered to even slightly try to come up with a healthy dinner for us, sits around dreaming up cakes that have peanut butter cups for the filling and fudge for the frosting and you know, screw me.

I do completely recognize that he is not forcing me to eat this stuff.  It is entirely my fault.  Most of my anger is with me for being weak and so quickly led astray.  I am going to get back on top of it, though.  I just needed a moment to vent.  I see how easy it is to backslide now and I will be more on guard in the future.  And on the positive side, I believe the months of effort before did make some lasting changes.  Maybe the changes aren’t enough to ensure good health, at this point, but even in the midst of a major backslide, both my husband and myself had moments of “I just really want a salad for dinner” much more often than we ever would have.  At least that part is encouraging.

And, lastly, let me leave you with this:  I can vouch for the effects diet on how you feel.  I feel so. much. worse. when I am not eating properly.  In every way.  That has always been my motivating factor for trying a different nutritive approach, and I was right.  Eating well makes you feel well.  Eating shite makes you feel shite.

xo

Nutrition and WTF to eat.

I have stated repeatedly that I am not much of a cook (TRUTH), so swallow what I am about to tell you with the knowledge that none of it was cooked well.  I did not take pictures of it because my cooking is an embarrassment.  That said, I cannot let that stop me from pursuing greater health.

That little report I did on pastured eggs made me see food entirely differently, ie. now I see it as something I can research and assemble and document and while I cannot fucking cook it well, I sure as shit can figure out what TO eat, if not how to MAKE it.

Last night, for dinner, hubs and I had the following:

Grass fed ground beef patties (pan-fried) – they varied in size, but mine was approx. 4 oz which is correct and is what my numbers below are going to be based on..

Big salad w/ mixed greens, carrots, mushrooms and Greek salad dressing

Cauliflower mash which was 1 head of steamed cauli, a splash of whole milk and a Tbs of butter to help make it creamy

First off, none of this dairy crap is allowed, but I am not believing that 2 or 3 Tbs of milk or butter a day is harmful, especially if divided between two people with some left over for another day.  I will strive for no dairy days, but right now, with my limited skills in the kitchen, making edible food is pretty hard so I have to do what I have to do.

When all is said and done, this meal, including evoo used in cooking and salad dressing, butter, milk, everything, should break down as follows:

483 calories

38.5 grams of fat

6.5 glycemic load

243 ig (or rather, fairly anti-inflammatory)

 

The hubs liked this meal and I loved it.  This is now on the menu and will be in the rotation.  I can stretch that expensive-ass, grassfed beef ($9/lb) over multiple meals (as long as we eat 4oz portions, of course, which hubs did not do – he had 2.5 times that amount.. working on it…).  We can eat cauliflower mash to our heart’s content and we can eat salad to our heart’s content.  We were full and felt we had enough variety of tastes and textures to feel satisfied.

Since my goal for myself is to eat meat only two times per week, this meal will happily fill one of those slots.  Fish will likely fill the other.  I may swap this beef meal out for a chicken meal once I figure out a decent one to make.

I am happy with this result.  Now I have two healthy meals that I can lean on.

2 down, about 28 to go.

xo

PS. And because I am anal and love school supplies and clearly am too OCD to NOT do so, I put all the nutritional data on index cards by ingredient and then created “meal” cards.  That way, if I ever forget my combos, I can refer to my cards.  And if I want to mix it up, I can always assemble new meals by swapping out cards.  Check me out.

My report on eggs. Because.

I might as well share some of my decision making with you and I’m even going to try to justify it nutritionally.  Below is the detail that is going into my food decisions, and in this case, the argument FOR eggs.  Pastured eggs.

According to Mother Earth News, from 2007, plus a few other sources, here is the breakdown on nutrition gained from pastured eggs vs. conventionally (or industrially) produced eggs:

(My additional information = Calorie count:  140 per pastured egg, just fyi, although calories are not my focus.  RDAs listed below are for ADULTS.  Also, I am not an expert and cannot even tell you where I got some of this info so PLEASE do your own research and do not trust my numbers whatsoever.)

Vitamin A (recommended RDA 900 IU):
Conventional: 487 IU

Pastured avg: 792 IU

Vitamin D (recommended RDA 600 IU):

Conventional: 34 IU

Pastured avg: 136 – 204 IU

Vitamin E (recommended RDA 15 mg – 33 mg if from supplements):

Conventional: 0.97 mg

Pastured avg: 3.73 mg

Beta-carotene (recommended RDA 15 to 20 mg from food – NONE from supplements):

Conventional: 10 mcg

Pastured avg: 79 mcg

Omega-3 fatty acids (recommended RDA 1 – 2 g):

Conventional: 0.22 g

Pastured avg: 0.66 g

Eggs have no glycemic load and are neutral on the inflammatory scale so they do not cause or reduce inflammation.

In addition to the nutritional gains, check out what all you do NOT get with your eggs:  no antibiotics, no hormones, 39% less arachidonic acid (an inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acid that most people eat too much of), and no bad karma.  Yes, I said it.  Vegans may disagree with me on this point, because eggs are baby chickens.  So let’s say there is less bad karma as no one suffers as a result of you eating this egg.  Although a chicken is deprived of life.  So you make the call.

 Anyhoo.

My $6 per dozen of pastured eggs is money well spent. 

Plus, those little babies taste so damn good.  You have never had a better egg, I swear it.

For complete nutrition, you should probably pair them with something that contains any/all of the following:  calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium.  So that would dairy, meat, and some veggies (esp. leafy greens) so for me, a touch of pastured meat and some leafy greens.  Sounds like a great scramble to me.  I will be trying this ASAP.

xo

And, now I have plan.

Welp.  The time has come to commit to a nutrition plan.  I can only read so many books and watch so many documentaries before I eventually have to commit.  No one knows FOR SURE what the best plan should be for most people, much less for people with my issues, so if I keep waiting for definitive proof, it will become just another excuse.

I do not really want to do this because I don’t know what to eat once I eliminate all the stuff I am going to eliminate.  Plus, there will be sacrifices.  Terrible, scary sacrifices.

So here is the plan:

  • No dairy (except eggs)
  • No wheat
  • No sugar (not even honey)
  • No artificial sweeteners (not even Stevia)
  • No oils besides olive oil and nut oils (includes coconut oil).
  • Light, pastured meat (less than 4oz per meal and not every meal)
  • No (or very little) fruit for the first 8 weeks.  (less than 1/2 cup)
  • No coffee (but I will have to ween myself)
  • No grains or oats (even gluten-free)
  • Add necessary supplements

Pretty much, I am allowed vegetables, some pastured meat, nuts & seeds.

The goals of this nutrition plan are:  low glycemic (because I’m automatically pre-diabetic as a person with PCOS), anti-inflammatory, controlled calories (although I probably will not count), and to reset my system, which should take 8 weeks on this plan.  After 8 weeks, I can re-introduce some of the verboten items like healthy grains (no modern wheat) and fruits and a little honey or stevia and coffee.

I am actually most devastated by having to give up the coffee.  It is the only thing that makes getting out of bed worth it, some days.  I am destroyed over this one and not at all sure it’s a good idea and straight up DO NOT WANT TO.  Damnit.  Foot stamping.

I am most curious about the wheat part, though.  I had a pretty good day yesterday in terms of being low glycemic and anti-inflammatory, but then I ate some Trader Joe’s cookies that were hiding in the pantry.  I had shooting pains in my upper abdomen within a few minutes.  Weird, huh?  I really do wonder if I’m gluten intolerant.  According to the book Wheat Belly, we are all intolerant to a certain extent (at least these days).

Anyway, I keep telling my husband we are going to clean out the pantry, but it has not happened yet.  It is about to, though.  I’m heading there next.

Wish me luck.

xo

Update:  Here are the bags of crap that were pulled from the pantry.  Sigh.  I guess I will start an Apocalypse Pile in the garage.  Plus, hubs will want to retrieve some items to store in his car, which is the agreed upon location to stash snacks that I do not want to fall victim to when I’m feeling weak.

youareOUT