Best eye makeup EVER.
Wait, that sign has words?? My whole world view was rocked one day in 5th grade when my parents took me to get my eyes checked. It turned out that not only was I near-sighted but I was so near-sighted that the fact that signs contain actual words and not just blurry pictures was a shattering revelation. I remember marching out of the optometrist’s office and reading every sign I could find – just because I could.
Ever since then my consistently worsening vision has provided my family with a trove of embarrassing and hilarious stories. Like the time when I was 16 and jumped on the back of a boy in the swimming pool, thinking he was my brother that I’d been horsing around with. I quickly realized that despite wearing the same color swim trunks as my brother, he was not related to me in any way when he turned his head and said dryly, “Excuse me, can I help you?” I still had my legs locked around his waist when I spotted my brother several feet away laughing so hard I thought he was going to aspirate his own tongue.
I think it’s safe to say this little guy is having a very strong reaction to…bark.
At the time it was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. I don’t talk about it much these days since so many worse things happened in the interim (ah, life). But back in 2000 – 2001, I had a nightmarish year consumed by anxiety. Granted, I had a lot going on. I’d just gotten married, I was in my last semester of grad school, teaching full time, interviewing for jobs all over the country, and getting ready to move. Oh and I was pregnant with a baby that never developed and waiting for a miscarriage that never came, necessitating surgery at 17 weeks during which they perforated my uterus giving me the most painful infection of my life. (No, this wasn’t our daughter Faith who was stillborn. That was still coming down the pike.) Good times! So you’ll understand that I might have had reason for some anxiety.
I was a modern vegetarian runner, he was a paleolithic meat-loving functional exerciser – when we first met, we could not have been more different. Paleo/Primal style eating now has quite a few different flavors now but five years ago, it was new and with its exclusion of all grains, was also quite controversial. Whether it was from a genuine interest in the science behind this new philosophy or because I’ve always had a thing for men who want me to change everything I am to be with them, I decided to give it a try. As those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning know, I’ve done the 30-day Primal Blueprint challenge, as described by Mark Sisson, three times now. Twice I wrote about my experiences and it got a whole chapter in my first book. Short version: It did not go well for me. And yet Mark Sisson and his site Mark’s Daily Apply remain one of my favorite sources for intelligent, well-researched health and fitness information. Here’s why:
Sparkly vampires that don’t die in sunlight and fall in love with inarticulate teenage girls, zombies eating brains with grapefruit spoons and their pinkies out (or off?) with Elizabeth Bennett, hapless-yet-cunning teens battling to the death in a reality show that makes Jersey Shore look like The Christian Ladies Aid Society – these are the types of books that keep most people up at night. Me? I’ve been up for a week now reading the gripping tales of The Fat-Cholesterol Hypothesis and The Carbohydrate Hypothesis spun by Gary Taubes in his game-changing tome Good Calories Bad Calories. Kinda like the Bible and Moby Dick, lots of people will talk about this book but very few of them have actually read it.
Not that I blame them. It’s 576 densely worded pages of research paper hell. And I used to be a Graduate Assistant that was paid to write research papers so I know that of which I speak. I’m going to be honest: I read most of it. Skimmed the rest. Fell asleep and drooled all over the “Conservation of Energy” chapter. Was just like college but without all the PowerPoint atrocities.
Confession #1: Today I stopped and bought my boys t-shirts at a garage sale to wear because I haven’t had time to do laundry for two weeks now and everything they own has been worn twice. (Once right side out and once inside out – for the latter, I just tell everyone they dressed themselves. I don’t add that I told them to dress themselves that way.)
I hang my motherly head in shame. But that is nowhere near as shocking as my next confession. If Charlotte-from-10-years-ago knew what I was about to confess, she’d have had me committed then and spared me this horror. In fact, the only reason I will even admit to this in black and white is because the other day Gym Buddy Allison ‘fessed up to doing it – and liking it – too. So here goes…
Confession #2: I eat beef fat.
Not only do I eat it but I love it. I crave it. You know all that white stuff all around the edges of a steak? The stuff that everyone from Dr. Oz to Dr. Phil (to Dr. Oprah-spawn) tells you to trim off? Well, I eat it.
Welcome to Dueling Diets! I’m your host, Crazy Charlotte. Today I’ll be pitting the Primal Blueprint a la Mark Sisson against the Engine 2 Diet a la Rip Esselstyn, all as part of my “Striving for Perfection” Experiment this month.
I’m going to be honest with you. This has not been the best Experiment. Physically and mentally I would have been a lot better off with my original plan of kickboxing. And yet I’m still glad I’m doing this. Why? Because this is quintessentially how I think. I like extremes. I like to do things all the way. My mother loves to tell the story of 18-month-old Charlotte screaming bloody murder for 45 minutes straight until I learned how to buckle my sandals all by myself. I’m still that girl but now in big girl panties. Some would look at that 18-month-old and think “Now there’s a lifetime full of frustration ahead of that one.” But if this blog has taught me one thing, it is that I am not alone in the way I think. My brand of crazy’s got company.
What do you suppose that a burly, buffed-out Superman in a helmet and oxygen tank eats? If your answer has anything to do with a 16-oz porterhouse in the firehouse then you don’t know the firefighters from Engine 2. Rip Esselstyn, a former elite triathlete turned firefighter, is on a mission to educate you on the healthiest way to eat and get fit in his book The Engine 2 Diet. Hotties in uniform are just an added bonus.
What Do Firefighters Eat?
I’m going to give you the short version so listen closely: Firefighters eat like Skinny Bitches. That’s right, these He-Men (and women!) are vegan, as in no animal products whatsoever. But in a twist that will make you take Ornish’s name in vain every time you pass up those cheese quesadillas, the Engine 2 crew are low-fat vegans.
Back when the husband and I were first married, I was fulfilling my new-bride task of writing thank you notes for all the generous gifts we had been given. (Random funny story: Someone gave us an electric teakettle which we promptly returned because we’re LDS and don’t drink tea – and also we lived in a 500 sq ft studio apartment and counter space consisted of our two-person table. The store gave me a whopping 75$ for it which thrilled me to no end. Who knew they were so pricey? But then two weeks later we got a call saying that what was in the box was not an electric teakettle but rather a cut-glass Easter basket. We had to go back to the store and give them $75 to buy back our tchotchke. But hey, that’s what every newlywed couple needs – a 10-lb glass bowl that you can either use to gather Fabrege eggs OR slit your wrists!) Anyhow, every manners book said it wasn’t enough to just write “Dear Mr. & Mrs. Johnson, Thank you for the set of towels.” No, you are supposed to tell them how beautiful they are and what you are using them for. Well, a lot of people gave us money and so in the spirit of erring on the side of too much honesty I wrote on all those thank-you cards “Thanks for your generous gift. We are saving up to buy a bed so we don’t have to sleep on the floor anymore. Love, Charlotte.”
This will thrill PETA right out of their naugahyde pumps: doing what no bag of thrown flour could ever hope to accomplish, the recession has caused the average American to cut their meat consumption. According to a survey conducted by Parade magazine (Yes, the cheesy insert in the Sunday paper. Yes, I read it. Shut up.), nearly 60% of respondents say they have reduced the amount of meat they eat due to rising food costs.
In an unrelated but strangely appropriate survey, apparently the recession has also caused an uptick in business at fast food restaurants.
Conclusion: A t-bone steak at $12.99/lb is a budget-breaker but two meat patties on a sesame bun with special sauce for $1.79 is dinner the way mama used to make. There’s something wrong with this mentality and I’m not just saying that because I’m a vegetarian. Somewhere Michael Pollan just had a seizure.
It’s official! September 2008 was experiment number 12, concluding an entire year of treating myself like a lab rat! It’s been quite the ride. I’ve been in more compromising positions than a Hooter’s waitress, tweaked my diet so much I got a new-fangled eating disorder, and typed so many blog posts (300 exactly!) that I earned a spot in the carpal tunnel hall of fame. And I’ve got the hemorrhoids (thank you one-rep max on the squat!), shin splints, bruises, carpet burns, stubbed toes, calloused hands, pummeled wrists, and wounded pride to show for it! But I’ve also learned a lot – a lot about health and fitness but even more so, a lot about myself.
My Favorite Part of This Year
I have to tell you, the number one best thing about doing this Great Experiment is: You! Not to get all Oprah on you but all of you are what makes doing this worthwhile. From all my Gym Buddies who put up with my crazy antics in real life to all of you who open up your lives and hearts to me in the comments and via e-mail and your own blogs, you people make this fun. Not to mention educational. You are some smart folk, you are, and I am amazed and grateful at how often you take the time to share your insight with me. It means a lot to me.