Milk is Ruining My Life

I pour the creamy, white liquid into the glass. I’m just about to take a sip, but then freeze. Wait. Wait, just one minute. Did this milk come from a cow treated with artificial growth hormones? Is this milk lactose free? I wonder if the cow was injected with resistant building antibiotics. Was the cow humanely treated? Did it enjoy being milked – or did it feel violated?

How did such a benign substance become so risky all of a sudden? When we were children, we were told to drink milk because it was good for our teeth and it kept our bones from snapping in half. But now everything seems so complicated! Fat free milk, skim milk, 2% milk, whole milk. Milk with DHA added.

Should we drink pasteurized or unpasteurized milk? Supposedly, unpasteurized milk has not been meddled with, and contains more nutrients and healthy fat than pasteurized milk. On the flip-side, because of the pasteurization process, pasteurized milk doesn’t harbor pesky deadly bacteria that is more likely to be found in unpasteurized milk. Hmmm … healthy fat verses dangerous bacteria …it’s a tossup.

I grab my keys and drive to the grocery store. I’m relieved to find they have an entire section devoted to milk substitutes. Thank goodness! Problem solved! Or so I thought.

The first option is rice milk. This looks like a great choice, until I remember it was just all over the news that arsenic was found in rice products. (I need to consume arsenic like I need a hole in my head.) And rice is a grain, right? Isn’t there this whole paleo diet movement? The diet rage that says we shouldn’t eat grains because our ancestors didn’t eat grains and they lived to be nine hundred years old, so we should abstain from grains too, so we can live to be nine hundred years old with no teeth and incontinent and yell at our children because they never visit us.

I scan the shelves. How about soy milk? Oh. Estrogen overload. Well, then. What about almond milk? Hmmm … Not only am I not a fan of almonds, but what if I develop a nut allergy? What if I’m standing in my kitchen, enjoying a nice cold glass of almond milk, and suddenly my throat swells shut? There I am, gasping and writhing for breath because I need an epi-pen in order to breath. (Which I don’t happen to own since I’ve never had a nut allergy prior to this whole milk dilemma.) I drop dead on the floor all because of a glass of stupid almond milk.

There’s coconut milk, but isn’t that high in fat? Or is coconut fat considered good now? I keep losing track. I’m fairly certain that coconut fat is considered healthy fat … or was that avocados? Maybe avocado fat is good to consume – and not coconuts – but I can’t find avocado milk. Maybe they’re making that next month.

On the shelf under the coconut milk is … hemp milk. Hemp milk? Hemp milk? Is that even legal? What would hemp milk even taste like? Sucking on a wet, burlap bag?

Not to mention, all of these non-milk products come in a variety of options. Organic, non-organic. No-sugar added. Sweetened and non-sweetened. Vanilla. It feels eerily similar to when I’m in the milk aisle.

I storm out of the milk substitute aisle and pass the frozen food section where gallons of milk sit innocently lined up for those who don’t know the dangers of drinking milk from another mammal (and yet another issue). I grab a bottle of soda – suddenly the safest choice – and head towards the cashier.

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook Users: Where Do You Belong?

It has been four years since I joined the 1.19 billion Facebook users. Throughout this period, I have observed very distinct behavior patterns of people who regularly use Facebook. After much rumination, sleepless nights, and obsessive floor pacing (well, not really), I categorized them into the following groups:

Braggy: For some, Facebook is a platform for bragging. These boasting comments are usually veiled as status updates.

Just threw together a Herb Crusted Beef Rib Roast with Pinot Noir Jus before taking little Kylie to oboe lessons.

Finished running 16.2 miles in 11 minutes. Who wants to join me tomorrow?

Sometimes, Braggy posts are written in a tired voice, as though being wonderful is exhausting.

While it’s hard getting up at 2 a.m. to squeeze in my four-hour total body workout, followed by preparing breakfast for the family, I know staying healthy for my family is important.

Last night James spelled Lieutenant! And he’s only 22 months old! I knew not allowing him to watch TV would reap loads of benefits. While it can be exhausting never having a break for myself, look at the fruit of my labor.

Literal Status Updates: Literal Status Updates give you a play-by-play account of the Facebook user’s day: what they are currently doing, what they are thinking, what’s on their agenda for the day. Literal Status Update Facebook users take the what’s on your mind? or what’s your status? question from Facebook quite literally. Literal Status Updates can include comments on ball games and TV shows the Facebook user is watching as they write their post.

At the grocery store.

C’mon Eli! Another interception?!

Time for lunch.

Making steak and potatoes for dinner. (With a glass of wine, of course. LOL!)

A sub-category of Literal Status Updates are Weather Posts – for those of us who live in windowless houses.

Snow!

Three inches so far and it’s still snowing.

19 degrees out! Brrrr!

Frequent Complaining Posts: Now, we are all prone to complain. Life ain’t easy, and commiseration can be soothing. The once-in-a-while-grumble is NOT included in the Frequent Complaining Posts category. It’s the daily gripe that falls into this group. Frequent Complaining Posts are similar to Literal Status Updates except they have a negative ring to them. For some people, Facebook is their way to share every sniffle and cough, every slight injustice that crosses their path. What’s most intriguing about the Frequent Complaining Posts is how these Facebook users are so eager to complain that they stop whatever they are doing to post  – whether it is while driving, or when they’re at work.

Another cold! Just when I was starting to feel better.

Grocery store is out of my favorite peanut butter. Are you kidding me?

Another sleepless night.

The Suspenseful Posts: These statuses leave you hanging. They are meant to make you wonder what on earth has happened, and are probably intended to have you checking back for updates.

So excited!

Can’t stop crying.

Best day EVER!

My poor hubby!

Sometimes the follow-up information to The Suspenseful Post is still very vague, especially when the original post was one of concern. While we understand privacy, it’s perplexing why the Facebook user who writes The Suspenseful Post in the first place would then keep the situation secretive. So you want us to know that you can’t stop crying, but you don’t want us to know why? Or What happened to your husband? What are we supposed to do with this information?

Political Posts: Are just that: statements about a political topic – which usually garners several supportive comments and “likes” as well as outraged responses. Things never end well, and opinions are rarely altered. De-friending over Political Posts is not uncommonSome Facebook users are regular Political Posters, while others stay away from the topics entirely – playing Switzerland in a messy war zone.

The Regular Rants: Just as with complaining, we all have a tendency to rant about a situation. The Regular Rants are akin to Frequent Complaining Posts, but with more of an edge. In these posts, however, the Facebook user’s anger seeps through their words. Regular Rants typically include lots of capital letters and exclamation points.

Could the guy driving in front of me go any slower? People older than 80 SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO DRIVE.

[insert name] is an idiot and I don’t know how ANYONE could be STUPID enough to vote for him!!

I can’t believe I went to college for THIS! What WAS I THINKING?

The Obsessive Topic: These Facebook users have a specific interest, issue, or cause that consumes them. Examples include a hobby, animal welfare, diet, a particular movement (such as gun rights or immigration reform), their pet, or a current event. When is it considered an Obsessive Topic? When the Facebook user posts at least once a day, every day about said topic. Pictures and links to unprofessional websites are common, as are the Facebook user “liking” their own status.

While every Facebook user has the tendency to dip their toes into each of these categories, others jump in cannonball style. Facebook seems to understand this, and has created a function that allows users to hide status updates from those habitual Political Posters, Regular Ranters and Frequent Complainers.

In spite of these behavior patterns, there are still Wonderful Posts – the comedic ones that make you burst out laughing, the posts with the pictures of your friends’ kids in silly Halloween costumes, the updates on ill friends, or the pictures of exotic vacations you someday hope to go on yourself. The Wonderful Posts are why I remain on Facebook, even though my kids watch television, I don’t cook Herb Crusted Beef Rib Roast with Pinot Noir Jus, and I could care less what Eli Manning is doing right this very minute.

Want To Lose Weight? Try Obesity Soap And Eating Cabbage

We’ve all been there: spending too much money for some gadget that promises to tone our thighs, shrink our bellies, or firm our arms. Many of us truly believe that those extra holiday pounds are going to be shed in time for the beach with the help of the newest diet featured in Shape magazine.

Clearly, America has an obsession with weight. There is a menagerie of weight loss pills, innovative exercise machines, different types of weight loss surgeries, and bizarre diets. The media is saturated with scary statistics on obesity, and it seems that you can’t pick up a magazine without there being at least one article on someone who has lost an astounding amount of weight with before and after pictures. Snuggled in-between these articles are advertisements featuring gaunt women who all have that same aloof expression.

It’s easy to assume that America’s love affair with diets and weight loss is a more recent phenomenon – but a relatively brief Internet search proved otherwise. Weight loss gimmicks and fad diets have been around since the beginning of the 20th century. Some of the products people used in the early 1900s to shave off those extra pounds included an Obesity Soap that was supposed to “wash away” excess fat (imagine what that would do to your shower drain), and Bile Beans that were nothing more than laxatives.

The Graybar Stimulator entered the scene in 1920 and would cost you $60. No small change for a machine where you strapped  a leather belt around your hips and it jiggled the pounds away (which it didn’t). It appears most exercise machines at that time involved vibration because in 1930 the Battle Creek Health Builder was a popular choice. With this bizarre contraption, the victim sat in a saddle and the fat was “shaken” off (it wasn’t). Just as so many people today have a room in their house devoted to exercise equipment they rarely use, I am assuming back in the 1930s people had a room specifically for their Graybar Stimulator and Battle Creek Health Builder.

Radical diets are also not new to the weight loss scene. In fact, there have been so many rather alarming weight loss regimes that I was forced to shorten the list. Below are some of the fad diets that are downright weird.

In 1903, a diet called Fletcherizing, or “the chewing diet”, became quite popular. Fletcherizing involved chewing food 32 times – one chew for each tooth. While it created rather quiet dinner parties and tired jaws, Fletcherizing did not provide the weight loss so desired and the diet eventually lost its appeal.

The Cigarette Diet, endorsed by none other than Lucky Strike Cigarettes, became the rage in 1925. With this diet, people were told to reach for a cigarette instead of food when hungry. Not only was a cigarette a substitute for putting food in the mouth when you wanted to eat, the nicotine was also touted as being appetite suppressing. Thus, the Cigarette Diet killed two birds with one stone (while giving the dieter a surprise diagnosis of lung cancer later on in life).

Between the years 1930-1950 the Grapefruit Diet made its debut. With this citrus driven diet, people attempted to shed pounds – and keep them off – by consuming grapefruit with every meal. It was believed that grapefruit had a fat-burning property and by eating them with other foods, the grapefruit would cancel out the caloric intake of whatever else you ingested. Although this theory has been continually debunked, other variations of the Grapefruit Diet still exist today.

Swallowing a tapeworm was also experimented with as a way to control weight. The Tapeworm Diet was rumored as being a popular method in losing weight during the 1950s. For those who weren’t keen on the idea of swallowing a parasite and having it grow up to 25 feet long in their intestines, dieters could also try the Cabbage Soup Diet. Similar to the Grapefruit Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet required dieters to eat Cabbage Soup with every meal.

Jumping ahead to the 1990s, quick weight loss schemes did not lessen in number or oddity. Who remembers the 1996 diet of eating food based on your blood type? Or the low carb craze of the Atkins Diet and South Beach Diet? Around 1998, juicing machines flew off the shelves in droves as people tried the Juice, Fasting and Detoxification Diet. When drinking meals lost its appeal, dieters then tried munching on uncooked foods with the Raw Food Diet of 2000. Dieters attempted liquid diets a second time with the more recently popular Master Cleanse (also known as the Lemonade Diet). With this extreme diet, people drink nothing more than a concoction consisting of hot water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper for 10 days.

It is easy to poke fun at the 13th century explorer, Ponce de Leon, who discovered Florida in his quest for the fountain of youth. A fountain that would keep you young! How ridiculous. Now, if you’ll just excuse me. I need to eat my allotted 17 pickles as part of the Pickle Diet. (Fooled you, didn’t I?)