Category: health

What Do We Mean by ‘Unintended’ Pregnancy?

pregnancyTestI like Jezebel, and I reallly like Jezebel’s commentators. Check out this piece on ambivalence towards pregnancy and the two awesome responses I’ve reposted below.

“The CDC says that about half (or 49%) of all pregnancies are unintended. And those aren’t all teen pregnancies. In fact the largest percentage of those occurs in women aged 18 to 29.”

This, yes, exactly, from laureltreedaphne: “If you’re using the pullout method and you get pregnant, is that really an accidental pregnancy? This argument drives me crazy, and as my friends and I have shifted into our late 20s / early 30s I see it happening all the time. If you and your partner choose to forgo birth control and then get pregnant, I don’t really believe that’s an accidental pregnancy – an accidental pregnancy is birth control failing, or someone not understanding how it works. Your pull-out birth control didn’t fail – you weren’t using birth control.

I really feel like there is this weird phenomenon where women don’t want to admit that they want to get pregnant. So they switch to the pull out method, because of all the side effects of birth control. And then 4-5 month’s later they’re “accidentally” pregnant. It’s a way to not own your choice, and it really bothers me. I don’t care if you want to have a baby, just have one. Don’t create this whole false “whoops” narrative.”

and this by rokokobang: “Just own it! The withdrawal method is making an active choice not to use birth control. That’s not the same as your condom failing because you left it in a hot car. It makes the conversation go like this:

“Wow! Congratulations!”

“Thank you! Yeah, it was a total surprise!”

“Oh, it was? Like did birth control fail, or…?”

“Oh, well no, we weren’t actually using anything.”

“So…why were you surprised?”

“Well, we weren’t trying!”

“But you weren’t preventing pregnancy.”

“Well, right. But we weren’t trying.”


DIY Pita Bread

This recipe works! Two successful batches later I am beside and puffed up like a proud penguin. I MAKE BREAD. Edible, tasty, looks-like-store bought bread. Raawwwr. Thanks to the Wimbush Family Pita Bread recipe for the instructions and confidence.

1 TBS yeast (Equals one of those square yeast packages that comes in sets of 3 in the baking aisle)
1 ¼ cup warm tap water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour (This makes it taste better and is healthier)
2 – 2 ½ cups all-purpose white flour
You’re gonna want an electric mixer too

Dissolve the yeast in water for about 5 minutes in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add salt and whole wheat flour plus ½ cup of white flour. With the dough hook attachment, beat to make a batter. Add additional flour until a rough, shaggy mass is formed. (It will break apart and look kinda rough). Add a bit more flour and knead 6-8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. (It will form a cohesive glob on the hook).

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 pieces for larger pitas or 10 for smaller. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Form dough into balls, then flatten with a rolling-pin into ¼ inch thick discs. TIP: Try and keep an even thickness as this is what helps them ‘puff’. Thinner ones cook faster and puff more; thicker ones turn out more like a naan bread.

Lightly flour 2-3 cookie sheets and set on top of the stove. Preheat to 425 F. With a large spatula or your hands, move the flattened disks to the cookie sheets. Let them rest on the floured surface on or near the stove for 30-40 minutes until slightly puffed. Don’t worry if they don’t double in size or look perceptibly larger. They’re okay. You should be able to smell the yeast and when you poke ’em, your finger should leave a little dent. If not, whatever — worst case scenario is that you’ll make crackers instead of pitas.

Bake 10-15 minutes until light golden. Stick around for the first five minutes of baking when the pitas perform their magic and puff up from flat pancakes to proud, four-inch high pitas. It’s epic. Store bought and the Pioneer Woman ain’t got nuthin’ on me!

Cool completely before storing or risk stale pitas. Apparently you can also freeze ’em, but they haven’t stuck around long enough yet for me to attest to that.

7-Minute Loaded Vegan Sweet Potato

I really should have taken a picture of this beauty, but I was freaking hungry and needed to eat. That packet of miso soup at 4pm was not cuttin’ it. Hence, this magical creation – ready in 7 minutes flat. Warm, filling, flavorful and crazy healthy. Did I mention fast?


1 medium sweet potato
1/2 can can red kidney beans, drained
1/2 ripe avocado
1/2 cup salsa of choice – I went for medium chunky (horrible name)
1 tsp good quality olive oil – the light flavored, green-grass scented stuff
salt to taste

1. Rinse sweet potato and wrap in plastic wrap. Poke a few holes through the wrap into the potato. Place wrapped potato in a bowl in the microwave. My wimpy microwave leftover from grad school took 5.5 minutes to cook. Yours will likely take 4-6 minutes depending on wattage.

TIP: Sure, you can bake the potatoes in the oven. That’ll take one hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Just making a point about efficiency here.

2. While potato is cooking, open and drain the kidney beans. Slice the avocado. Once the potato is cooked until it’s easy to pierce with a fork, pull it out of the microwave with oven mitts. Seriously, y’all, I’ve screamed profane things in the office kitchen while burning off my fingerprints attempting to pull bowls out of the microwave by hand.

3. Slice potato in half in the bowl. Fill with 1/2 can of kidney beans and 1/2 cup of salsa. Zap in the microwave 1 additional minute. Remove carefully and top with sliced avocado, drizzle with olive oil and salt to taste.

Ta da! Your entire meal can be made and consumed in less time than it takes to watch an episode of The Daily Show. Ooh, this recipe for stuffed sweet potatoes with greens and beans looks promising too.  Or this one, kale and quinoa stuffed sweet potatoes. I’ve found my inner yam monster! Plus, tomorrow I’m taking the leftover beans, avocado and salsa to work for stuffing in a pita pocket.

I ate this with a glass of red wine from the Cote du Rhone that was on sale at the store. I didn’t like it enough to list the wine here, but I’m sure a little sweeter wine could go nicely. A drier Riesling perhaps, or a Zinfandel?

Why I’m Not Skinny

I eat. Yup, there it is. Not novel in my world, but apparently eating is a bit unusual among certain women. Check out this interview with someone famous and skinny (Kelly Wearstler?) in Bon Appetit:

How do you start the day?

Kelly Wearstler, aka “Chewing Is Overrated”

I go to Barry’s Bootcamp at 5:30 a.m., seven days a week. It’s me and a bunch of Hollywood hot-shots. I’ve heard we burn 800 calories per class.

Sounds intense. Do you hydrate?
KW: I drink water mixed with Miracle Reds or Miracle Greens, with drops of plankton. Later in the day, I drink water with lemon, and alkaline water with cayenne extract.

You must be starving after that workout!
KW: Not for a while. After I drop my sons off at school–they still let me walk them into class–I get a double dry nonfat macchiato at Urth Caffé. And for the rest of the day, I juice.

What about real, solid food?
KW: Besides almonds or granola, I don’t eat a lot during the day–juicing is what gives me energy.

As Jezebel aptly captures it, “Although the interviewer tries to engage Wearstler in a conversation about food — since it is, after all, a FOOD MAGAZINE — she declines.  She is not interested in chewing!”

Perhaps chewing is overrated. Too much work. Doesn’t burn enough calories. While filming Batman, Anne Hathaway joked about the unforgiving nature of the catsuit, saying “And right now, I’m, like, living on kale and dust.”

As a woman with curves who struggles with weight, I snort at the mere thought of subsisting on lemon juice and dust motes – with cayenne flakes! I get hungry, people. No, I get ravenous. To help communicate the sincerity of this, I’ve trained my family and significant others to understand my hunger zones in stop light colors:

GREEN ZONE: I’m good to go right now, no hunger pangs. Thumbs up.

YELLOW ZONE: I feel hunger creeping up. I’m still cool but will need to eat within the next hour or so.

RED ZONE: I need food, NOW. Don’t speak to me until we eat. Take me directly to calories. If food takes more than 15 minutes I will dissolve into an angry, grumpy, tummy-aching, headach-y mess.  Ignore the red zone at your peril.

Since we’ve established that eating is in fact a necessity in my world, other options for crazy skinnyness include:
1) Smoking. Gross. It’s expensive, smells bad, is disgusting and will kill you. Plus you look like trailer trash.

2) Diet Pills. I hear that people live on diet pills laced with caffeine. Maybe speed? I tried some weight loss pills for about 3 days in college, which resulted in me feeling nauseous, anxious jittery and with a killer headache to boot. Nope.

3) Eating Disorder. Anorexia is out since ya know, chewing is important to me. And I don’t have 8 hours to spend at the gym each day. Bulimia involves too much horribleness to even contemplate. I like enamel on my teeth.

Which brings me back to the basics of eat less and do more. Or, as Michael Pollan famously summarized in The Omnivore’s Dilemma: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

5 Non-Resolution Focus Areas for 2013

In grant writing particularly, it’s necessary to include what they call SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely. You’ve seen this graphic, right?

For my personal life as questions arise of resolutions and life-changing decisions, I prefer MUSH goals, those that are Mostly feasible, Underdeveloped, Silly and Hubris-driven. For example, in 2012, I resolved to wear more eye make-up. Success! I wore eyeliner probably 90% of my days at work. I had a girlfriend who resolved to drink more champagne. What a delightful resolution to keep!
I offer my 2013 MUSH-y focus areas:

  • Wear lipstick more often, or find lipstick that wears longer—whichever is fine. I’m Polish-bred pale and need the color.
  • Dress to flatter my shape. This will involve donating frumpy clothes so I can’t default to a solid t-shirt, boxy sweater and washed out Old Navy pants that are too short. This also requires me to admit that my shape does not fit everything, and try to be okay with it as is.
  • Eat foods that make me feel good. Sure, shoveling a log of goat cheese tastes awesome, but it’s not worth 3 days of lactose-intolerant gut pain, bloating and – as we called them in my family – barking spiders. I like healthful foods; I just need to take time to prepare them for easy transportation.
  • Save  money. This would be place to be more specific, but I chafe against rigorous budget restraints, which in turn makes me more likely to splurge to prove that I can. Like a diet, a crash won’t help but little steps will. For instance, I didn’t buy coffee today. I have 2 coffee makers at home and one at work. I can do this. Oh, and I need to put more of that promotion into savings.
  • Fight spam. Spam makes me cranky and wastes time. Rather than cllicking on itsy bitsy boxes with checkmarks to delete 75% of my inbox, I’m  finding the tiny script at the bottom of the email that reads “unscribe,” and jumping through whichever hoops they require. Rawr. Take back the inbox!

Maybe I’ll come up with a few more, maybe not. Check back in March to guffaw at this list.