Andrea: Yay for Plastic Surgery!

The blog is getting the Heidi Montag treatment.

Surgery was performed on Saturday, and it’s now in recovery.

It is up and running, but looks like one hot mess.  We’re working out the kinks and hopefully will be back in business in just a couple of days!

Andrea: Blind Date

Just a reminder – Care To Eat has changed servers!  If you use a feed reader, you must update this feed by re-subscribing to: Caretoeat.net

Thanks!

Whenever I see Pill-related posts on the blog scene, I know they will spark a lively discussion. I also know that the post and the comments that follow can open a lot of eyes, so thank you to all of you who responded to yesterday’s post!

There were a few points that I didn’t make that I wanted to touch on.

Andrea (from Off Her Cork) summed up my first point in her comment:

“…I’m not going to be too negative on the pill either. Without the pill women would be in a very serious way right now that would not be to their benefit. The pill revolutionized birth control and women finally being able to take charge of their reproduction systems. It also helps a lot of people who suffer from very seriously stressful periods to better manage them.

I do agree that putting fake hormones into your body like that cannot be good as a long term practice and that it can mess with your system a great deal. I’m just not willing to curse them and dismiss them because they can be so helpful to so many.”

I completely agree with that statement. The Pill has played an important role in our society and it should still have a significant role. As I mentioned yesterday, the Pill just celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary and there is a very interesting article about it in this week’s TIME Magazine. The Pill has also helped women who suffer from debilitating cramps, PMDD, acne, and a whole variety of medical issues. Although not evidenced by yesterday’s comments (!) there are women out there who have had positive experiences while on the Pill. Which brings me to my next point…

If I had stopped taking the Pill three years ago, I would have been one of those women who sung the Pill’s praises. Unfortunately, the Pill “turned” on me and it became something I hated. If you’re having success on the Pill now, watch out because it could start to cause issues. Or not – we’re all different. If it’s working for you, just be aware and if it’s not, maybe it’s time to think of the alternatives. Also, if you’re like me and thinking about breeding, it might be a good idea to get off the Pill sooner than later to make sure there’s no setbacks, or to have the opportunity to address them if there are.

And my third and final point is: Why in the hell is the Pill so popular? The Family Awareness Method (FAM) is obviously not for everyone. When I was 19 and in college, there is NO WAY I could have successfully prevented pregnancy using that method. It’s just not practical for that lifestyle. It is, however, practical for me now – a 30 year old, mature (just go with it!) woman, in a committed relationship, with a supportive partner, who can wake up at the same time every day, and is comfortable touching her vajay-jay at times. I just wish, when I had gone to my doctor as a sexually active young woman, instead of him saying, “Here’s your prescription.” he would have said, “Here are your options.” Every form of birth control has it’s flaws and risks. Looking back, why wasn’t a copper IUD ever suggested for me? It seems like a great, non-hormonal alternative for a young woman. I would consider one now if I was looking for long-term contraception. I just think doctors are so quick to dispense the Pill since that’s what’s been the “norm” for so long.

It’s dialogue and open discussion, like this, that will make women question what is right for them instead of just going with what a trusted physician recommends. I would also encourage you to talk about all aspects of reproduction with your “real-life” friends :) With my girlfriends, pretty much no topic is off limits, so when I have brought up TCOYF and the FAM, I shouldn’t have been, but I was surprised that nobody really knew that’s what our bodies were doing every month. It’s disappointing that we aren’t told to be more aware about our fertility and that we may even feel embarrassed when we do bring it up.

My last comment before moving on, Toni Weschler has a book geared towards teens – Cycle Savvy. I haven’t personally read it, so I can’t recommend it, but if it’s anything like TCOYF, I assume it should be a must-read for young women as well. If you have a younger sister, or family member, it might be something to check out.

Okay, on to more fun things, cuz periods are AWESOME, right?!

I had a date last night! A blind date! A few weeks ago, a reader and new blogger, Kilee, emailed me about where I bought my raw ingredients. She had just moved back to Oregon from Hawaii and needed some recommendations. Well, of course, the first thing I did was blog stalk her (duh!), and I was like, I have to meet this girl! She has a dehydrator, she has a juicer, she works out at my gym. Plus, one can not have too many friends, right?

Plans were arranged, and we met up at Blossoming Lotus – a popular vegan, mostly raw restaurant in town. I had been several times before (here, here, and here) but never at their new location in the Irvington neighborhood of NE Portland.

***Side note – I first went to Blossoming Lotus for brunch like five years ago and I had NEVER been to a vegan restaurant before. Obviously, they didn’t have cow’s milk so I had to get my chai with soy milk (the horror!) and I was so nervous about how it would taste. Of course I loved it. Also, I think I pussied out and got some safe dish like French Toast which is so easy to veganize – look how far I’ve come!***

Cocktails were had!

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Lavender Lemon Drops – very refreshing and since I hadn’t had alcohol in a few days, made me quite the chatty Cathy – sorry Kilee!

For my entree, I ordered their Live Pizza:

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From the website:  hempseed & basil pesto, cashew cheese and marinated vegetable topping on spiced tomato & walnut crust, served with a mixed green salad

It was fabulous and I am desperate to recreate the “crust” ASAP.

Here’s Kilee with her entree – she’s kind of like the Anti-Andrea – tall, blonde hair, blue eyes and absolutely gorgeous.

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Kilee has a gluten allergy, so she ordered the Green Goddess Bowl: steamed kale, mixed greens, sprouts*, with avocado goddess sauce & roasted garlic balsamic vinaigrette, topped with sesame seeds, served with a choice of brown rice or quinoa

And of course I ordered dessert – I don’t know the exact name, but it was a cacao/mint kream cake. Blossoming Lotus always has fantastic raw dessert options!

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I was so full after this meal, but that’s what I love about raw foods – whenever I do eat a lot, I can feel stuffed, but never gross.

Kilee was such a sweetheart and brought me some ingredients I didn’t have at home to make a Butterfinger Protein Shake. I can not wait to try it, as well as her macaroon recipe, and of course I can’t wait to hang out again! Thanks so much Kilee for a fun night.

Ok, time for this monster post to end and make some dinner! I don’t know what I’m making yet, but maybe between now and the time I get home, I’ll be inspired.

Andrea: This one goes out to all the ladies out there…

I think it goes without saying that I’ve never been a man. I may have the body of a boy, but I have no clue what it’s like to be a man. That being said, I say with 100% confidence that when it comes to the way a body functions, men have it easy. Well, aside from the spontaneous, inopportune woody, but I digress.

As I sit here typing this, I’m really not liking being a woman. Why? Because of this:

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(Happy 50th Birthday, you little fuckers!)

I stopped taking the Pill a year ago this month. But, a week ago, my doctor asked me to go back on it for one cycle. In that week, I’ve gained 5 pounds, gotten four new zits, and my boobs have doubled in size. That would normally be a good thing, but I literally can not walk down the stairs without pain shooting through my jiggly bits.

This past year, being off the Pill, has been wonderful. No more mood swings, excessive bloating, acne scars, and even better – my sex drive was back! I was on the Pill for 10 years – eight years without a single side effect, and then the last two in total misery. It finally got to the point where I was letting my “off week” turn into “off 2-3 weeks” and I physically couldn’t bring myself to swallow them anymore. I finally said “enough is enough” and told my husband I wasn’t going to subject myself to this anymore. Thankfully, he was very supportive about that decision.

Without our “safety net” of the Pill, my husband and I had to decide what to do about birth control – we’re close to wanting to start a family, but not there yet. For various reasons, we ultimately decided on condoms. I know, right? Ugh. I mean, half the reason I’m in a monogamous relationship is so that I don’t have to use those damn things!

After six months of tolerating them, I heard about this book:

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Thank you, Gina!

I had already heard about natural family planning before. I even have a close (Catholic) friend who practices the Creighton Method. I just didn’t know there was a secular book out there that I could buy at my local bookstore to teach me about it! With Gina’s high praise for this book, I ran to my local Barnes & Noble to check it out for myself. I remember the day I got it – I was reading it when my husband came home. He took one look at the book’s title and said, “What are you reading that for?” I replied, “So I can figure out how we can stop using condoms.” His response? “Carry on then!”

This book blew my mind. After 30 years of being a woman, and 18 years of “being a woman,” I finally understood the ins and outs of how my body worked. It was empowering to know that I CAN have control of my fertility – not a little, nasty Pill. If I had been aware of this book earlier, I would have stopped taking the Pill years ago and saved myself a lot of frustration.

Interestingly enough, here’s what happened after I started charting my cycle – I realized I didn’t have one.

As soon as I stopped taking the Pill, my cycles were all over the place – anywhere from 45-65 days (which wasn’t normal for me before I started the Pill). I chalked it up to my body trying to adjust back to normal. But, after a year of irregular cycles and five months of charting, I suspected that I wasn’t ovulating. Since everything I had read says it takes up to six months for your body to adjust back after stopping the Pill, after a year of irregularity – and the charts to prove it – I knew something was up. I can’t tell you how nice it was to be able to go to my doctor with my suspicions and with my “data” and for her to say, “You’re right. Something’s going on, let’s figure it out.”

So, I’ve had blood work done to rule out anything else (everything’s normal) and I’m on the Pill for a month to see if that sparks any estrogen production. If I start getting “normal” periods in a month or so and my charts start to change, then we’ll know it worked. If not, then it’s back to the doctor for additional testing. I’m also going to look into acupuncture as obviously, I’m hating how these synthetic hormones are affecting me, even for this short amount of time.

At this point, I’m not concerned at all since Chris and I are not actively trying to conceive. I very well could just need more time to adjust back. Who knows? I am just so thankful that I have this opportunity to figure it out before I want to get pregnant. If I hadn’t read this book and I discovered I wasn’t ovulating when I was trying to have a baby, I would be freaking out.

Why am I writing about this? I’m certainly not the first blogger to talk about the Pill or this book. But, as part of this healthy blogging community, it’s important to offer perspective and to share your side of the story. I know from experience as a blogger AND as a blog reader that there’s always someone out there who is in the same situation and knows what you’re going through, and there’s comfort in that.

My advice is if you’re a woman, you must READ THIS BOOK! Even a nun should read this book! If you’re a woman in a monogamous, supportive relationship who hates the Pill – this book may very well be your ticket to freedom. It was for me and so much more.

Andrea: If you want pretty pictures of food

…go somewhere else! Seriously, it’s a wonder I have any regular readers.

I admit that sometimes I try to “style” my food – you know, at least wipe stray crumbs or sauce off the plate. Today was not one of those days. Today was a day where everything was eaten on the fly and for convenience.

Exhibit 1:

Oats in a jar.
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Picture taken after I got to work and was finishing up while in the parking lot.

Exhibit 2:

Lunch at my desk.

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Pepper crackers & goat cheese

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Salad with cukes, carrots, 1/2 avocado, sunflower & pumpkin seeds.

I think I finally started eating lunch at 2 p.m.? I honestly can’t remember.

Exhibit 3:

Grilled cheese – does it get any easier than that?

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I got home from work just before 8 p.m. and the last thing I wanted to do was cook for 30 minutes or more. This meal took me five minutes. I made the grilled cheese in the toaster oven, and microwaved the sweet potato. I thought about eating another vegetable just for color, but once I realized that meant turning on the oven, I was like, “fuck that.” But hey, at least the cheese is raw organic sharp cheddar cheese, and for fun I added hot sauce to my Carolina BBQ sauce. Sadly, that’s the most exciting thing I did all day.

To reward myself for a long day of work, I am now having a piece of banana bread…

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…with Earth Balance. Oh, yeeaaaaahhhhh.

Andrea: All it took was a trip to Costco

Did you know that Friday night’s at Costco are hellabusy? At least the one I go to. But, I knew if I didn’t go after work on Friday, I would have nothing healthy to eat all weekend – much like the past couple of weeks. So, I manned up, grabbed a big-ass cart and started filling it up.

When I got home, and was putting all my produce away, I felt happy, settled, and back. Random funk begone. Thanks Costco!

I felt so good in fact, that I opted not to hang out with friends and stayed at home to cook and bake. I had a piece of ahi tuna in the fridge that had been marinating for a couple of days, so I seared that and ate it with some pureed butternut squash. Simple and delicious.

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I also had some extremely ripe bananas that were begging to be turned into bread. So, I happily obliged and made Mama Pea’s toasted almond flax banana bread. I made a regular size loaf, and then a mini one for me to eat that night.

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It was excellent and I highly recommend you try this for yourself!

Saturday morning I had a date with a friend – breakfast at J&M Cafe in SE Portland. I hadn’t been there in years so it was like trying out a new place!

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I ordered a scramble with mustard greens, leeks, mushrooms, and garlic. I asked for parmesan on the side, but it was flavorful enough that I didn’t even need the extra dairy. Worked for me because I definitely ate one of those butters :) After breakfast we headed to the Portland Saturday Market. Neither one of us bought anything, but we did see this:

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Basil only wishes he was this cool.

Saturday night was Lee’s birthday – hence the cake from my last post. There was lots of debauchery and I totally made up for not hanging out with everybody on Friday night :)

I worked this morning and into the afternoon. Even though I had fueled up with a big glass of juice and a big piece of banana bread before I left, I was ravenous by the time I got home. I wanted something quick, so a salad was the easiest solution.   

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I used the other half of my tuna from Friday night and it was an excellent salad topper. Look at how gorgeous this piece of fish is! Ahi tuna is definitely going into regular rotation on my dinner menu.

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The weather was gorgeous here today so I sat outside on our back stoop while I ate. Chris joined me with his lunch and we sat outside planning our next move when it comes to our back yard.

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Chris planted some azaleas, hostas, and ground cover on Friday. Next comes bringing in some flagstone to make a seating area. Hopefully soon, I’ll be able to sit at a real table outside instead of on a concrete step :)

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My lunch dessert was half a cantaloupe. My first one of the year!

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I just couldn’t say no to that face, so I let him lick the “bowl.”

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Since I had such a late lunch, I’m skipping dinner and just eating some strawberries with rawnola and greek yogurt.

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I’m about to start a movie – The Lovely Bones. If it’s half as good as the book, I’ll be happy!

Andrea: When I die…

…and go to heaven, I will be greeted with this cake.

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For a full description and way better photos, head to SharedSugar.com

Thank you to Stephanie for making this wonderful dessert, and to Lee for helping her out even on your own birthday :)

Andrea: Is this thing on?

I’m alive! I swear!

I even had Erin texting me yesterday asking if I was okay :) I’ve been super busy with work and busier than normal in my personal life. I’ve been having lots of fun, which has translated into eating lots of crap :( If you follow me on Twitter, then you saw this little gem…

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I actually have a picture, but I’ll spare you. It ain’t pretty. Raw diet, wha??!! I haven’t turned on my Excalibur in two weeks and I think he’s getting pissed. Soon, my little friend, soon. I promise.

So, what HAVE I been doing?

A little of this…

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That would be my friend Lucas turning one. It was my first “1st Birthday” party, and let me tell you – toddlers know how to celebrate. They play hard all afternoon and then pass out on the floor by 7 p.m.

I also went to see my Lover down in Eugene, OR…

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Opening night, Baby! I’ve loved Conan O’Brien for as long as I can remember. I bought tickets as soon as I heard he was going on tour and I was lucky to snag these nosebleeds. The show was awesome, and his surprise guests included Spoon and Jack McBrayer from 30Rock. I love me some Kenneth, so I was more excited for him than for Spoon!

The hubby and I grabbed dinner in Eugene and we tried out Mara’s suggestion of Cornucopia Cafe for “the best veggie burger she’s ever had.”

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Mondays are their “Burgers and Brew” nights (burger, brew & fries for $9.99), so we timed that pretty well. Chris and I had a Guiness in honor of Conan :) The cafe calls their veggie burgers “Vurgers.”

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They are made with tempeh and they did not disappoint!

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It was pretty freakin’ good and Eugene has moved up a few notches in my book! They have lots of vegetarian options that aren’t burgers on their menu so we will definitely be going back next time we’re in town.

I also ran a 10k on Sunday with some coworkers. The 10k was a benefit for the local ALS chapter here in Portland. As I’ve mentioned on here before, I have a friend with ALS, so this race had special significance to me. My friend uses a wheelchair at home – two years ago he probably would have been running this race.

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I stopped training for this 10k three weeks ago. Yeah, that was fun. Time wasn’t horrible, but I did have to walk for a little bit after mile 4. I finished strong though :) I wore my new Bondi Band during the race….

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….and got a TON of comments on it – everybody loved it. I loved that it kept my ears warm at the beginning of the race and didn’t slip AT ALL. I highly recommend these! Thanks Ashley for introducing them to me and a lot of other peeps in the blogosphere.

This is week is shaping up to be another crazy one – hopefully things will start to calm down soon. I’m still reading blogs every day, so I still feel in the loop!

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