Stick This in Your Nose

I’ve been battling something lately. I’m not sure if it’s allergies, a cold, or a virus…but it’s kicking my hiney at any given moment of any given day, and has been doing so for three weeks or so. After a few random sick days, I finally went to the doctor, only to be told that they’re not sure what to do for me (they gave me a new allergy medicine which has done squat; I usually take Zyrtec, and still do), but to let them know if it finally turns into a sinus infection. No fever, no green boogers (sorry), deal with it. They were more pleasant than that, but she was truly stumped. I’m starting to get annoyed.

So, on the way home from rehearsal last night, I finally picked up one of these guys…

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There was much debate between the store brand (which advertised itself as all-natural) and this Arm & Hammer version (which includes, what else, baking soda in with the saline solution). I finally threw my hands up and went with the hubby’s idea – this version said there’d be less stinging. I’m not sure if the “all natural” one would have stung, but I figured this wouldn’t hurt to try. Pun intended.
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I asked Dave to take some video of me using it, but he politely declined. He WAS, however, quite excited to see it work. I’ll bet he was. Oh, and he was quite disappointed to hear that we’ll need to buy a separate one for him when he gets sick – can’t share those germies.

In case you’ve never heard of a Neti Pot, you put warm water in, along with some saline powder, then tilt your head over a sink (yes, this gets gross) and pour half of the contents into one nostril while it pours out your other nostril. Repeat with other side.

It. Feels. Weird. Not painful, just weird. I’d do it again. It was just such a surreal feeling. Some of the phrases I uttered:”eeeeeeewwwww!!! Ew. Ew. Ew.” and “my brain is drowning!” and “that’s all that went through?” It was interesting to find out that I could talk while pouring.

Unfortunately, my nose was pretty clear when I tried it out. It’s supposed to help clear allergens, yuckiness, and sinus issues, so I’ll keep working on it. I WANT THIS TO WORK SO BADLY I CAN TASTE IT. It’d be awesome to turn to this when I’m feeling under the weather rather than filling myself with corn syrup cough remedies and drowsy pills. So, I’ll give you a report after using it when I feel crappier. 🙂

All Ice Cream is Not Created Equal

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My awesome fiance brought home dessert last night. He does a great job when he goes grocery shopping when it comes to buying natural, but is sometimes a little unsure — I think mostly because his job keeps him so busy and I’m the one sitting on my tush doing the research and most of the buying. SO, when he showed up with two brands of ice cream, I couldn’t really complain, could I? 😉

One was mint chocolate chip, and it was all natural — by Breyer’s. I looked over the ingredients and was pretty pleased; aside from using raw local milk and making it myself, it did as well as it could. Plus, it was my favorite flavor and definitely won’t go uneaten (ie inedibly freezer-burned).

The second kind was one that we rely on quite a bit from Hannaford –Nature’s Place (a Hannaford specialty that often is slightly cheaper than other healthful alternatives; we also get their organic milk, among other items) chocolate and vanilla. Upon looking over the ingredient list, I noticed that one of the ingredients was corn syrup. Oye.

While it’s not as bad as high fructose corn syrup, seeing the term sends alarms off in my head. It’s still a corn-based product used for sweetening, but less “dangerous” — I’m still concerned that our intake of corn isn’t a “natural” amount, and after seeing Food, Inc., I’m wary. I prefer agave nectar or raw sugar for sweetening, but I’ll even take refined white sugar to corn syrups. It may be correct, it may not be, but it’s my level of comfort.

*** This post requested by above-mentioned fiance. Not the compliments about him, just the “surprise” about the ice cream. 🙂 ***

Earth Day — in our own way

My fiance, Dave, and I stumbled upon “Food, Inc.” on PBS last night and were equally touched and horrified by what we saw. I gotta tell ya, well-produced documentaries sure are the way to get tears and fears out of me, but I suppose that’s what they’re meant to do. I hate to fall into the trap, but I agree with and accept the information they provide — in general.

While watching it, my mind started hopping from thought to thought. Why are we so dependent on big business? Has it been given too much of an opportunity to grow, thus take over our lives? Are Americans (well, many humans, not just us) so ignorant that they follow the leader so eagerly (and lazily)? I don’t want to sound overly hippie, but this all turned my stomach…well, it could’ve been all the slaughter scenes, but anyhoo….

One reason that Dave and I get along so well is that we seem to transcend time. No, we’re not Dr. Who or Marty McFly. We’re just very connected to past time periods. I’m not sure about him, but I’ve always wished that I could live in a different time, from the Colonial period to 19th century to the 1940s to the 1960s…hard to live in the now, but we are where we are. I know the grass isn’t always greener, but when it comes to eating, I wonder if we’d be a lot better off living a century ago. So, my first extreme idea was to buy a farm, quit our jobs and start a whole new lifestyle.

Go ahead, take the time you need to finish laughing. I can wait. 🙂

Not even sure Dave understood what I meant when I tearfully explained that. But, I never expected it to become a reality. The second idea was less extreme…but still extreme: moving away to an area that has more resources for healthy living. Of course, this would mean leaving family, friends and jobs. Not something that we’re currently ready to do.

So, the compromise that Dave came up with after sleeping on it a bit was to take our first steps to get healthier — and we don’t mean in order to lose weight, but to retrain our bodies not to depend on the salt, sugar and fat that they have thus far grown to crave. Mmm. Sugar. *shakes head* That’s gonna be a tough one.

In our area of the country, we’ve gotta drive about half an hour to a modestly-sized city (where Dave works) or an hour to the east or west for a larger option. We’re between suburban and rural; we’re relatively close to farms but they still seem foreign. Many of my students live on farms, and a lot of the kids I went to school with back in the day (a town over from where we currently live) also lived on farms. Oh, and suffice it to say, Dave’s from the above city and my parents both grew up on farms (Mom eventually dated a dairy farmer, so I spent lots of time on it during that time — being a youngster on a farm has its merits), so farms are a little less foreign to me since I’ve vast experience scraping cow pies into gutters. Yessiree.

While you’d think that a quasi-rural area like this would allow us tons of great organic produce, it isn’t necessarily the case. We still rely on Walmart, Aldi (man, why can’t they have more organics?!) and Hannaford for groceries; the harsh winters take up most of the year, so farmers markets get set up for the summer — making it rough the rest of the year. Also, much of the “goods” the local farmers create are for a larger market, so they’re feeding (literally) right into the big business hype. *sigh* Sometimes we think that if we lived closer to a city, we’d have an easier time living differently. Strange how that works.

But, there’s some good news (albeit not cost-effective), and it’s what Dave’s great idea is. We found a local buying club called The Foodshed Buying Club on Facebook which, depending on the time of year and availability, offers eggs, meat, produce, etc from local farmers. You can order by Sunday night and pick up your goods that Friday or Sunday. There’s an annual $15 fee for their services (can’t blame ’em, and that’s not too bad, is it?), you get organic, hormone-free foods, AND support local farmers who, in turn, support our cause — buying locally.

So, here’s our first step — talking. Ohhhh, it sounds so simple, but rather than jumping in and spending a fortune (which we don’t have) on everything the Foodshed has to offer, we’re going to discuss our priorities and what we can’t already buy at a sufficiently healthy level in a “normal” environment. So far, my priorities are as follows:

  • MEAT!!! Ew. What are they FEEDING us?! We were raised as the traditional, all-American omnivores (with a big accent on the meat and potatoes…or heavy pasta), which there’s nothing wrong with. Well. There sort of is. We’re flabbier than we probably could/should be, and that probably has something to do with it. Regardless, once I’ve used up all the bulk goodies in the freezer, I’m buying no more meat from the grocery stores (unless specifically labeled as grass-fed…which is rare around here). This is one area that we will pay a pretty penny, and rightfully so.
  • Dairy – All the corn-fed (corn sounds healthy…it’s not…and it ain’t natural) cattle are producing hormone-infested milk and cheese products. Now, we’re not big milk-drinkers (didn’t we drink it, like, constantly as kids?) but I’d like to get into the habit of not grabbing whatever plastic container is cheapest, especially since we’d like to have a brood of our own one day. Instead, here’s one place that we’re a little luckier. Hannaford has organic milks as well as some locally-produced no-hormone brands which aren’t uber pricey — so, shall we say score?! Yes. They and the Foodshed also have great cheeses and yogurts which, although slightly expensive, aren’t enjoyed that much in the McCoy-Dellecese household, so will be a nice splurge here and there.
  • Produce – Here’s where I’ll have to do some experimenting. I’m not completely ignorant; I know that just because it’s a fruit or veggie, it’s not necessarily “good for” us. But, this is also the area that I think leaves us the most wiggle room. It’s still way healthier than hormone-laden meats and poultry, so, for now, we’ll work on getting fruits and veggies that help us stay within our budget.
  • Grains – Since I don’t bake as much as I should (why can’t I be Donna Reed?), I figure I can splurge on the whole wheat and organic flours from Foodshed. The harder thing is figuring out what to feed my guy — brown rice is always a go-to, but pretty boring, and anything with a strange-sounding name is a no-no. He’s a little like a child with some foods; I guess we all are in our own ways (I hate hate HATE raw tomatoes). Here’s where I’ll need to do some research. ANY SUGGESTIONS ARE WELCOME! 😀

We’ve already gotten well underway with our beverage consumption (except for that moo juice!), drinking mostly seltzer or flavored waters with zero additives, juice, plain water, etc. The occasional soda (ginger ale) gets tossed in when we’re feeling naughty. Oh, okay, and beer or wine, but those are social or mental health beverages (rough day at work much?), and consumed rarely.

So, that’s a start, I think. We’ll update when things get further underway. I know there’s a lot more in our area that’s still untapped. What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to take a new stance on our own impact? Well, at least I’m not crying over meat anymore.