Friday, November 17, 2017

O Game Night: One Outrageous Ordinary Occurrence


Decor
O-lace disc
Orange shirts and toenails

Games
Oregon Trail (we actually won!)
Othello
Operation
Oregon
Oceanos

Drinks
Odwalla Orange juice
Ocean spray cranberry juice
Orange-colored (pumpkin spice) sparkling cider
Ovaltine

Food
Orecchiette pasta with Olives, Oregano, Olive Oil
Omelette with Onions, Oyster mushrooms, Okra
Oven-roasted Okra
Olives
Oranges
Outsourced Organic Old-fashioned Oat bars
Onion chips
Opal apples
Oreos
Oatmeal raisin cookies 
cheeri-Os

Friday, November 3, 2017

Halloween

I'm kinda/sorta/maybe trying to do NaBloPoMo for November; we'll see if it lasts but for something for today I thought I'd share our family Halloween costumes!

Before having N I was thinking that by a year old, surely there'd be some kind of preferences clear enough, at least to base a birthday party theme on, or a Halloween costume. There aren't really (not in the sense of like, a favorite color or animal), although I did consider a buckles theme for his birthday party, or dressing him up as a cat leash. 

But one thing he does like is the one video (a trilogy of videos, rather) that we let him watch. Abe stumbled across it several months ago, and it's a last resort when N is upset and particularly at the end of a long car ride. The Duck Song! Part 2. Part 3

N of course was the duck, who's kind of cute.



And we were the Man running the lemonade stand and the Woman running the corner store. (And last year as the Lion, the Witch,and the Wardrobe, with a very sleepy lion!)


 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Toastmasters: Everybody's Favorite Vegetable

This week I gave a Toastmasters speech in the "Speeches by Management" manual. While I picked this manual to work on, as it seemed like it would be projects relevant to my work, I've found it very difficult to come up with topics! Rather than being able to fit in an anecdote or personal interest in, they essentially require a role-play type of context. 

I was a bit stumped for what one to do next, when a "bad news" issue popped up while listening to an episode of Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me. At least in most of my circles (in real life and online), either hating or loving kale is an ongoing joke. What better bad news to share than that everybody's "favorite" vegetable might be bad for them?!

Everybody's Favorite Garnish Vegetable

“I try to be healthy and hale. 
I eat dark leafy cabbage but fail. 
Subsisting on salad 
Is no longer valid. 
I’m sick cause I ate too much kale.”
[source]

That’s a limerick from a recent episode of the NPR quiz show Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me. It addresses something relevant to us - whether curly or dinosaur, Kale is everyone’s favorite veggie, am I right? 

Whether you do consider it tasty or merely a “leatherlike mutant lettuce” as one of the Wait Wait panelists chimed in, kale packs quite a punch when it comes to nutrition. Considered by some to be a “superfood” and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, it contains: Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, manganese, calcium, potassium, magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron, and phosphorus. 1 cup is only 33 calories, but has 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. It’s also loaded with Omega 3s and antioxidants. All of these benefits help to protect us from cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis - the list goes on and on. 

Plus, it’s trendy! If you don’t have kale chips or a green smoothie to instagram, what are you really accomplishing with your life? 

This all makes it very understandable to be disappointed at the news - kale might be bad for your health! 

The nutritional info currently making the rounds is data from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Very high levels of eating cruciferous vegetables, including kale (or its relatives, such as cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts), have been associated with hypothyroidism - underacting thyroid hormones. One specific case that highlights this is that of an 88-year-old woman who was hospitalized for severe hypothyroidism and fell into a coma after eating 1 to 1.5 kg of bok choy daily, for months. She had been trying to treat her diabetes, but ended up causing quite a significant problem by this high dose of it. 

The interaction here is that of two compounds - goitrin and indole glucosinolates, which are created in the processing of cruciferous vegetables, can cause problems with the normal thyroid hormones. These either interfere with the thyroid hormone synthesis, or compete with iodine for uptake by the thyroid gland. This can lead to causing goiters, among other issues. This may be particularly harmful to people with an existing thyroid condition - I myself, along with what seems to be every other woman I know in my age bracket, have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and kale is far from unheard of on our dinner table! 

Does all this mean kale should be banished back to garnishing the deli case? 

Fortunately, the conclusion at this point is that the concern is only present with the combination of two factors: one, a really, really high intake level of kale or similar vegetables - “the dose makes the poison” as they say, and two, an iodine deficiency. In the US, iodine deficiency is extremely uncommon, in large part since 1924, when iodine began to be added to table salt as a standard fortification. 

For most of us, then, this is unlikely to necessarily impact your kale consumption. If you do have a thyroid condition, particularly a known deficiency in iodine, you might want to check with a medical professional; otherwise you can breathe a sigh of relief and continue on eating your kale! 

However, if you do want to be cautious, there are a few tips you can keep in mind (source): 

  • Cook your kale. Rather than eating it raw, massaged or in a smoothie, you can cook it, which greatly reduces the components that can cause problems.
  • Eat seaweed. This is a natural source of iodine that reduces the risk for that particular deficiency, thereby reducing the interaction that would cause kale to be potentially troublesome. 
  • Eat Brazil nuts. This is a good source of selenium, which also supports healthy iodine levels and thyroid function. 
  • And lastly, vary your greens. Kale is not the end all be all - other greens and veggies are great, too! Mix up your smoothie with spinach instead of kale, eat a salad with a mixture of baby greens, or roast up a bunch of beets and other root vegetables. Eating a wide range of foods is really the best plan for nutrition and good health anyway - your body isn’t designed to rely on a large quantity of any one food, even a “superfood”! 


I hope this information has reassured any concern you might have about the possible negative impacts of eating kale, and with these tips and things to keep in mind you will be able to continue enjoying it for many meals to come. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

All Else Being Equal

Does a vaginal birth have benefits to the baby and an easier recovery for the mom? Yes, all else being equal.

Does rooming in with your baby while you're at the hospital after delivery create the best chance for bonding? Yes, all else being equal.

Is breastmilk the best thing for your newborn to eat? Yes, all else being equal. 



The problem with a society that pushes - and understandably, pushes away from whatever was being pushed a few decades prior - for a given method of birth or way of raising your child, is that all else is not equal

And I'm not even talking about regular privilege - but being the white middle class woman with supportive family up the wazoo that I am, I have plenty of that, and that's made this whole thing manageable.

But also devastating, because I should be able to handle this. I have so much going for me! So much going for us as a family! And yet it's been, it continues to be, such an incredible struggle. I've gotten what I wanted in many ways. And what I wanted has been devastating in many ways. And it's mostly just the luck of the draw. 

Was a vaginal birth the best delivery for me? No, no, a hundred times no. I was, at one point, offered (threatened with) a C section. At that point - fuck no. This was an hour before N was ultimately born. I had already labored for 45 hours, not slept for two nights. He was already in the birth canal and they were going to try forceps first. All of the things that make me regret what happened, had/would have already happened. I would had had to recover from both a C section and 99.9% of a vaginal birth. It would have been the worst of both worlds. 

But. What if, instead of the goal being to avoid a C section until the baby or mother's life was in fairly immediate risk, the goal was to avoid a C section - unless the mother was showing exhaustion and her body was not responding to an induction in anything resembling a normal labor time frame. What if the mother's mental health was considered a factor, and you at least offered* a C section after 24 hours of every-3-minutes contraction that weren't causing much besides lack of sleep? 

(*Would I have fought it in the moment? Yes, probably, not knowing what I know now. Even if I'd made the "wrong" choice, believing that my providers defined my health as more than simply not dying would make a huge difference to me now.)

Was rooming in, banishing the hospital nursery altogether, the best choice? I would have said so beforehand! I was so glad to be going to a "baby friendly" hospital. It turns out baby friendly can sometimes be antithesis of mother friendly.

We had a head start on the new baby sleep deprivation with two nights in labor, and now had a wailing baby to deal with. Or rather, mostly my husband did, because I wasn't even out of bed unassisted until the second morning after delivery (the time most families are being released from the hospital). We literally could not handle it without handing N off to the nurses for a little break each night. You can't bond if you're tearing yourself down with pure exhaustion.

Was breastfeeding the best choice for me? Actually, yes! After a few rough weeks - my milk didn't even come in until about day 6, when it's normally more like day 3 - it's come relatively effortless, even while being virtually an exclusive-pumper for a period through tax season right after returning to work. I respond to the pump just fine. I haven't had any pain or plugged ducts or other issues after the initial adjustment period. 

But nonetheless I can't even say I exclusively breastfed. You see, around days 4 or 5 - including time we were still in the hospital - we had a very hungry baby! We weren't even offered formula, and once we asked for it the nurse provided it but also half-joked, "don't let the lactation consultant know!" Feeding formula while continuing to attempt nursing (along with a ridiculous amount of luck) is what has allowed me to still be nursing at 13 months with no intention of stopping anytime soon. If you want to support breastmilk, don't make it torture! Don't risk a baby's life (we weren't to that point, but I believe we would have gotten there if we hadn't been educated and advocated for ourselves).

I regret how I delivered my baby. While my baby was born healthy - the most important thing! - my health is also important, and it continues to be negatively impacted, mentally and physically, but what happened. Whether by something inherent in my body or just plain luck, all else was not equal. The generic "best" was not best for me. I only wish I'd known that sooner.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Great Columbia Crossing 10k

Hey, I did a race! 

It was pretty much a perfect day for running, and I was pretty thrilled to meet my B goal in terms of time. I also kept running almost the entire time, other than the one hill (near the end of the bridge). 

It was also completely devastating (in a very #firstworldproblems kind of way - perhaps disheartening is a more appropriate word), in that pelvic floor problems returned, and basically showed that my body was not ready for this (despite having thought the situation was stabilized, or at least mostly so), and I don't know when it will be or exactly how to get to that point. For at the least the short-term (whether that's a month until I talk to a specialist and figure out an approach, or 11 months until I plan to stop breastfeeding, or longer... I don't know) it's probably not healthy for me to run. I'll post more about that topic in another post.

The Great Columbia Crossing is a point-to-point that starts on the WA side at Dismal Nitch, goes over the ~4 mile long Astoria-Megler Bridge, and ends in Astoria near the Riverwalk. 



We drove into Astoria the afternoon before, and stayed at the Riverwalk Inn. This is definitely a convenient location for the race. When we arrived, Abe put N down for a nap (he hadn't cared to sleep in the car), while I walked to packet pickup (a bit over half a mile). The next morning, the shuttle stop was literally the edge of the motel parking, and the finish line was just about a quarter mile down - I literally ran by about 20 feet from our room door at the 6 mile mark! 



The rooms are pretty basic and a bit dated, but it feels perfectly safe and clean, and the views are quite stunning! 



The only way to the race start is by shuttle, so despite staying so close to the race course I had to get up pretty early and wait before hand! It wasn't too cold, but felt relatively chilly (though ultimately capris + short sleeve was perfect by the end of the actual race; I kept an intended-to-be-throw-away long sleeve shirt on for most of it, too). At least there was pretty scenery from that, side, too.


They had a peppy announcer and music playing while we waited. Waiting in line for the porta potties is a nice way to kill time in such circumstances, of course (pretty normal length lines). We got started pretty much right on time. My feet, in particular, felt cold for a while, still, but things warmed up quickly. I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn't significant wind while on the bridge.


For pacing, I decided to definitely stay under 14:00 to start, and try to stay closer to 13:00. If I had anything left, drop under 13:00 nearer the end (aside from the hill of the bridge). I gave myself permission ahead of time to walk up that! It's a small-ish race, so the crowd thinned out pretty quickly after going over the start line. They did tell people to line up by pace, but never gave instructions for walkers to stay right or avoid clumps, so there was some going around groups of walkers. My current pace is one with lots of folks doing run/walk intervals, so I ended up leap frogging with a few folks throughout the race. 

Miles:
1 - 13:06
2 - 13:14
3 - 13:34
4 - 13:53
5 - 14:28 (most of the uphill)
6 - 12:23 (it's all downhill from here!)
6.2 - 12:47 pace (3:46 for 0.29 per my Garmin)

Official time: 1:24:22 (13:35 pace)


This was definitely a race worth doing at least once for the experience, as well as a well-run event. I hope to return to do this again at some point when I'm back to my prior standard of running. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Five: SodaStream Alternatives

Linking up today with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0

Earlier this year - merely a few years after the trend - we finally got a SodaStream. I was relying waaay too much on diet coke (which was actually a cutback in overall caffeine consumption since my pregnancy, since beforehand I frequently had energy drinks - but more cans since one energy drink has more caffeine than one diet coke), and then we got in drinking LaCroix. And the cans just freaking piled up.

It started making me really uncomfortable from an environmental standpoint (even if they're recycled - it still takes energy to make, transport, and recycle them!). We did the math, and when you account for both the syrup (if you buy the SodaStream products), C02, and the actual machine, it would about 10 years to be spending less per serving. But we decided to go for it anyway.

In lieu of just using buying syrups, though, I've found a lot of options for drinks to make with the SodaStream water. Can be cheaper, and provides more flexibility for taste or sweetness.



1. Homemade simple syrups. I made this cherry limeade syrup and I want to get around to this blood orange syrup. Just google and you can find a ton of recipes and ideas.

2. Juice. I love a lemonade mixed with sparkling water. This even got me to realize the obvious, that at restaurants that have a specialty lemonade in their fountain drinks but it's overly sweet - just dilute it with soda water, like I do at home. I have no idea how that'd never occurred to me before. 

3. Cocktails. Actually, Abe is doing more of this, but I've tried a few things. Well if "cocktail" equals one of the above, with vodka added in. But still tasty! 

4. Fruit. During watermelon season in the summer I made this aqua fresca. Also a genre with lots of ideas out there if you take a look!

5. Tea. I've never been a huge fan of iced tea, but when it's sparkling it's ok! I'm trying to cut back on the diet coke (err... "diet cola" SodaStream syrup) with sparkling iced tea (my MIL introduced me to guyausa tea, which as a higher caffeine content than most). I brew a concentrated tea, and overly carbonate the water, and it works out pretty well.



Thursday, October 19, 2017

NROLFW Phase 3 Week 2a & 10k Training Week 7/8 & 8/8

Workouts - week of Oct 2-8

Monday: Tap dance class (60 min) + restorative yoga (10 min)

Tuesday: Stroller run 1.7 miles (15:28 pace, 64* and pleasant, 5:00 pm) + restorative yoga (10 min)

Friday: NROLFW phase 3 workout A (50 min) + restorative yoga (10 min)

Total running: 1.7 miles
Average daily steps: 7,072


Workouts - week of Oct 9-15

Monday: Tap dance class (60 min) + restorative yoga (10 min)

Wednesday: Stroller run 1.7 miles (15:20 pace, 54* and clear, 5:15 pm)

Thursday: Restorative yoga (10 min)

Friday: Yoga (15 min)

Sunday: Great Columbia Crossing 10k (unofficial time 1:24:24) + restorative yoga (10 min)

Total running: 7.9 miles
Average daily steps: 9,508

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