Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Natural Life - Diet

I've been on a bit of a natural revolution of late. I'll do a series of posts about the changes I'm making in my diet, exercise, home and personal care.

...It started with a thought about dairy...

I'm a breastfeeding mum, and through the amazing fantastical Interweb have discovered many online communities (like Kellymom, Best for Babes, and the ABA) that share exciting information about the magical properties of breastmilk. I came to the realisation that babies are biologically designed to recieve breastmilk, and that when they do, they develop exactly as nature intended. I began to wonder about the foods that adult humans are biologically designed to eat....

This made me realise the absolute weirdness of consuming dairy products. Milk is what mammals make, with their mammary glands, to feed their mammal young. Why on earth is it seen as completely normal for adult humans to eat massive amounts of milk and milk products from another animal?
So I stopped. I used to be a huge fan of milk and cheese and yoghurt and sour cream, but I just can't bring myself to eat it anymore.

I also tried my hand at eating my idea of a hunter-gatherer diet. I didn't research this or think too deeply about it, I just limited myself mainly to meat, fruits, vegies, nuts, seeds and anything else that was unrefined or unprocessed. I didn't last long, my sweet tooth getting the better of me, but the idea stuck with me.
Then I discovered that someone had already had this idea, done real research into it, and called it The Paleo Diet, and The Paleo Solution. I was pretty excited and chuffed to have thought of the same idea as some pretty swanky scientists. I told the Lion King about my find, and then forgot about it, settling back into the modern version of "healthy" eating.

A little while later, the Lion King told me he had read about the Paleo lifestyle and was giving it a go. After a few chats about the pros of eating this way, and the occasional difficulties encountered, I decided I was going to jump back on board. This time around I read a bit about the actual diet of paleolithic humans, learned that a few of my ideas were wrong (like that wholegrains are great) and have armed myself with more online resources, like Everyday Paleo, The Civilised Caveman, and Cave Girl Eats. These have been invaluable in helping me stick to my guns (or club, if that is more appropriate), and while I'm not 100% Paleo, 100% of the time, I am pretty much entirely dairy and gluten free, and am working my way towards total cavemum status.

I'm excited and focused, and super proud to be treating my body the way I feel it deserves, not to mention I get to make the most scrumptious food and not worry at all about whether it's "naughty". My intake of fibre, protein and fat is up, sugar intake waaay down. I'm not concerned with weight loss, although it seems to be happening anyway, but most importantly, I feel fantastic!

How do you and your family eat? Are you thinking of making changes?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

When mankind really means mankind

I watched a DVD the other day called "The Experiment". It was a very interesting (not for the weak stomached) movie based on a famous study done in 1971 called The Standford Prison Experiment, in which a group of students representing 'average people' were placed in a simulation prison environment, with some of the subjects are given the role of guards and the rest are given the role of prisoners. Despite the fact that test subjects were chosen for their apparent mental stability, within 6 days of commencing, the experiment had to be shut down due to the increasingly sadistic behaviour of the 'guards' and trauma of the 'prisoners'. Even the leading scientist, Philip Zambardo, who had taken on the role of superintendent had lost moral reasoning (this is in the actual study, not the movie).
Criticisms of this study include the obvious lack in ethical standards, the fact that it did not accurately represent true prison environment, and also claims that Zambardo biased the 'guards' to act in an abusive manner.
My criticism, to add to the list, is that the entire group were all males. This experiment is repeatedly referred to as a glimpse at the darker side of human nature. Human nature. How can this possibly accurately reflect the true nature of humans when it has completely marginalised half of all humankind. (not to mention that almost all participants were middle-class and white, so really it was an extremely narrow look at 'humans')
Do I think that if it was done with all women it would be a lovely experience? No. I certainly don't think that women are devoid of hurtful tendencies or are uninfluenced by power. Do I think that the results would be exactly the same? No way.

Sidenote: The original Stanford Prison Experiment was shut down due to moral objections by Zambardo's then girlfriend, Christina Maslach. She was the first of 50 people who witnessed the study to openly question the ethics of continuing. Possibly she was only listened to because of her relationship with Zambardo.

I have no idea how an experiement like this would play out if conducted with, all or part, women. I couldn't even begin to speculate. But I absolutely object to being excluded from 'humankind'.

From now on, I would appreciate if anyone wishing to make comment on the nature of humans would study more than just one sex... and one culture, and one colour, in one country.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I'm a little sad right now

It seems that two of my very closest friends in the world are sick of me and all of my baby talk. They don't want to hang out with me because they don't want to hear about my views on parenting and breastfeeding and discipline.
I can understand, we are only 23 and neither of them sees these things as relevent to their lives, they want to hear about what happened on the weekend when everyone was drunk. I can understand the hesitation on their part to hear (yet again) the benefits of breastfeeding and why control crying is so bad and why attachment parenting is soo NOT anti-feminist.

TJ says I need to get some other mother friends, which seems pretty simple. But non-single mums don't particularly want to become too close to single mums, and young (single or not) mums are usually at the complete other end of the spectrum to me when it comes to attittudes towards parenting.
ET is just mean all the time, making fun of me when I post something about being a mum on facebook and rolling her eyes if we do actually hang out and I happen to mention anything pertaining to children.

But at the same time, these are my friends, my very closest friends, and if I can't spend time with them because they don't want to hear about what I have to say, then what can I do? So I'm a little sad, because apart from one other person, K (who lives 10 hours away), these two are my alltime favourite people. I would drive for an hour to either of their houses just to hang out and do nothing in particular, because I just enjoy being around them. And they don't want to be around me. Because I'm passionate about mothering.

I don't know what the resolution is, perhaps I'll just end up having no friends. All I know is that I will not compromise the raising of my daughter for anything, even my favourite people. I have other things to fill my time, Elsie is the MOST important thing in my life, and my commitment to her is the most important thing in hers.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Feminism is...?

What does it mean to be an 'empowered' woman?

I hate the term empowered. A person has to be lacking in power originally in order to become empowered. In past generations women percieved themselves as lacking in power, and perhaps they were, but there is no reason for any woman to feel 'empowered' in our current society because there is no reason that we should ever be less than that.
So, I hate it because it implies women are coming from a position of weakness.
I also hate it because it is, in my opinion, also grossely misused.
For example, I was informed on the news a few weeks ago that my city would be holding competitions called "Bikini Races" in which women run around a greyhound track in skimpy swimwear, whilst having bets placed on them by punters. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the majority of the crowd betting would be men. One of the lovely young women who were kindly demonstrating how the race would be performed described the experience as empowering. Empowering??
It is quite possible of course that I am just old fashioned and out of touch, but running around a dog track in very little clothing so that men can satisfy their needs to ogle and gamble at the same time is NOT my idea of how women demonstrate their power.
I can understand that recieving male attention makes a woman feel attractive. However, 'empowering' is not the same as 'makes me feel pretty'.

I also saw a blog that praised natural parenting practises (vaginal births, breastfeeding and cuddling babies among others) attacked by a commenter as being 'anti-feminist'. Again, I have to respectfully disagree. Saying that vaginal births should be preferable (unless a caesarean is essential) is not "taking women's choices away", it is encouraging women to be proud of what their own bodies can do. As a young woman, I know that preserving the condition of the vagina is a major consideration when opting for caesareans. Many of my friends presumed I would ask for a caesarean because it is "more desirable for men". I personally find the notion that I would prefer this option somewhat offensive...a highly drugged, highly unnatural, highly risky, surgical operation that can only be traumatising for my child just for the benefit of potential sex partners? I am aware of the importance of medical intervention during emergencies and am not diminishing their place in the world at all. However I find the idea that women would put the sexual desires of men above their own safety and wellbeing (not to mention that of their child) much more anti-feminist than the blogger's ideas.

So what is feminism to me?
Essentially I believe that women's power lays in the fact that we are women. We are not men, we are not better or worse, there is no better or worse, there is just one and the other. We have no need to be exactly like men because we have worth in being different to them. Neither should we need to define ourselves by the men in our lives.

I am incredibly proud of myself for having the ability to grow a child in my belly, I am so amazed that, after carrying a tiny new human for 9 months, my body can then produce all the sustenance this child needs for a year as well as immunological protection and more until weaning.
I can accomplish anything I want in life, and be anything I want to be. Thankfully that neither hinges on or is hindered by my being a woman.
Although I do hope for marriage and more children some day I will not feel incomplete because I am  currently single.
 I like to feel sexy, but it will never be my main priority in life.

In the past women felt like failures if they were unmarried by 25.
 were defined by their home life.
     felt that feminism meant not behaving like a "woman".
         felt held back.
In the past not being sexy meant not being anything.
Lets not allow that to be our future.

There are many men in my life who I love and care for deeply, I do not think myself above them and I completely acknowledge their value and importance in my life. But I also have value and importance, and I refuse to have the level of that dictated by anyone other than myself.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Little Luxury

I got my nails done today.
Which might sound a little boring and bland to some, but for me it's a big deal.
The last time that I sat down and had someone work on my nails was 6 years ago. Yes, SIX, YEARS. And that was for my school formal.

I'm not usually a very high maintainence girl, I have a slight tendency toward feminism and am greatly upset by women who can't find value in themselves outside their looks, as well as by men who can't see past a girl's dress size when choosing a partner. I deliberately dress Elsie in 'boys colours' occasionally and plan to raise her in a way that she knows she is so much more than just pretty. She will grow up with the knowledge that true value is on the inside of people.
All that aside, I do like to look nice. My 'beauty is on the inside' outlook has a limit. I know that I'm so much more than girls who are just 'hot', but I wouldn't mind being both at once.

I've been suffering a little 'not pretty enough' syndrome lately. I think it started over a year ago when Elsie's dad (the Lion King) found a new absolutely stunning girl to hook up with while I was waddling along with my big pregnant belly. This girl is gorgeous; long blonde hair, tanned fit body, beautiful blue eyes, sparkling smile. I couldn't compete with that on my best day, let alone when I've got a giant bump for a stomach. That started my self-esteem on it's downhill run.
Then a few months ago I also decided that cutting all of my waist-length hair off would be a great idea for some reason. That resulted in much less painful hair-pulling activity by Elsie, win. But it also had the undesirable effect of making me feel boyish and ugly. Now my blow-dryer has become my best friend (my hair being naturally curly, which suits my current hair cut about as well as hot pants suit my dad) and I refuse to leave the house without at least applying some mascara.
Not to mention that carrying a baby around everywhere is the fastest way to not get any male attention ever.

So when an acquaintance who has a beauty and nails business posted on facebook "first 4 commenters get acrylic french tips for $27" I thought to myself, why the hell not?
And I'm so glad I did.
I feel pampered, that little bit more feminine, and ever so slightly closer to being not just hot.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It Begins....

I wish that I could pour my soul out tonight, I wish that I could articulate how I'm feeling and get everything off my chest. I wish that I could write beautifully, inspiring all who happen across my new blog and capturing the hearts of my audience. I wish that I could send out my thoughts to the world, and see how they are recieved. laptop only has 12% battery life remaining. So I'm going to turn it off, and go to sleep instead.