Truth be told …

Oh hi there! It feels like forever since the previous time this little blog here saw some action. Avout time to change that. eh? Thursdays always feel like the perfect opportunity for returns from [un]ntentional breaks. The day we’re wholeheartedly encouraged to just share some random thoughts, no further explanation needed. So here’s getting back into the game with a few current truths in my life.

Truth be told  …

This post was supposed to go online – and get written – yesterday already but then my sister and P. arrived  at my parents’ a day earlier than expected so … priorities ;).

Truth be told

I’m still heads over heels in love with P. Maybe even more so than before if that’s even possible. He’s starting to actually talk more and more now – he has been communicating with us for a long time but it’s now his vocabulary seems to broaden by the day. It’s the. cutest. thing. ever when he says his own name, pronouncing it in a somewhat Swedish way. Melts my heart. See: I’m already gushing again. Somebody stop me. Well, …

Truth also be told …

As much as I love – look at me making an exception and using this word – the little boo, I had to resort to my cheater ways when he wouldn’t stop crying for his Mama during babysitting time. Sometimes, a sleeping toddler is cuter than an awake one. Anybody agreeing?

Truth be told …

One of the main reasons I haven’t been posting a lot anymore these past weeks is that right now is a time in my life that wasn’t made for sharing. It’s not my intention to appear as a negative Nancy yet I also didn’t want to paint my days in brighter colours than they actually are right now. That’s still not to say I didn’t have my happy moments. Just that my heart overall has been feeling a little heavier.

Truth be told  …

We don’t need hundreds of friends if we do have a few really good ones. Meeting one of this amazing kind on Friday evening was a definite highlight of my week. She’s a friend from school days and has the ability to both make you laugh and pour your soul out to, building you up while sharing her own insecurities and struggles. I’m not a small talk person – well, most of us Germans aren’t – so these deep conversations are my favourites.

Truth be told …

Despite having done my fair share of healthier baking before, I was doubtful of the success when I sent my sister the link to this Peach Streusel Cake. You might remember my family being super picky and critical towards healthified baked goods. And my sister might want to eat a little healthier but she still won’t eat anything she doesn’t like [which I can honestly fully understand]. Verdict? It’s her new favourite cake.

Truth be told …

Fly swatters are worth their price times a million for me right now. I might be a vegetarian but mosquitoes are the one exception I make in killing other living beings. #sorrynotsorry

… and that’s it for me right now because – truth be told – it’s pretty late already around these parts and I need to make an effort at getting to bed earlier still. See you on Sunday for some good good links!

Happiness-inducing today:  Sunshine. Time with the family.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Tell me some truths from your life!


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Why competitive eating challenges are so wrong

It’s been a while since I joined Amanda’s Thinking out loud Thursdays with a big old rant, getting some thoughts on a sad phenomenon in today’s society off my chest.

Thinking-Out-Loud

Sometimes I think I should start an entire series on here called “Why [insert topic] is making me sad.” That’s not to say I felt sad 24/7 but I do think there are quite a few unfortunate trends, topics and happenings in the world. The one I’m addressing today being a very popular YouTube phenomenon. Let’s face it: we all like to eat, right? And as bloggers we also don’t hide our curiosity about what others eat. All fine and well because everybody has to eat and food can be fun. Until it’s not anymore. Which is the case with the phenomenon gaining popularity all over social media, especially Youtube: Massive cheat days. 10k calorie food challenges. If you’re unfamiliar with those: they’re people – usually muscular athletes or tiny ‘fit girls’ shoveling massive amounts of [junk] food into themselves within a 24h time span.

And yes, it’s totally normal and part of intuitive eating to occasionally eat past the point of fullness. Just because we want to or the food is too delicious. Nothing to criticize here. But: 10,000 calories. Let that sink in. That’s a lot of food. More than just having seconds and thirds at Thanksgiving. 10,000 calories: A lot of food that could – depending on their needs – feed many people. People who actually need it.

It’s disrespectful behavior towards food and those in need of it

Food is meant to be enjoyable. Quickly skipping through a few of those challenge videos I didn’t get that impression it was for the people doing it. So you say you’re stuffing yourself to the point of near-vomiting [who knows what happens after the camera is turned off] only to say …What, really? That you did it? That you’re one particularly awesome person? Or: “Look how much I can eat and not gain”? It is not an accomplishment. It’s not worthy of praise or admiration. In my opinion it’s disgusting. A disgusting disrespect towards the value of food as nourishment. And while, yes, I find this particularly horrible when meat and as such disrespect for living beings is involved, I do not approve of vegans doing these eating competitions, either.

It is different if somebody struggles with bulimia or is experiencing extreme hunger in recovery from any kind of eating disorder. In a way, these people do need the calories. Making up for months or even years of restriction. Explaining the background on this would take too long here so if you haven’t heard about this find a good explanation. I just want to differentiate between needed versus wasted food. Speaking of eating disorders:

It’s triggering for people with eating disorders

Now you might think that gee, everybody’s responsible for the content they consume. However, if you’ve ever spent time on YouTube, you know that videos like these, especially considering they gather lots of views, appear on the front page and high up in the suggested videos. Add curiosity to the mix and people will watch these videos.

While I personally have no experiences with binge eating, I can see how ashamed somebody struggling with it might find these videos. Extremely toned people shoveling thousands of calories’ worth of food into their mouths and not gaining an ounce from it yet talking about how they’re going to ‘clean up’ their diet afterwards. Perfectly in control while you’re continuing to struggle. Those on the opposite end of the spectrum, having to eat past fullness to gain weight might feel gross for the amounts their eating; wrong even.

[Note: I personally am not triggered by these kind of videos but everybody has different triggers and this might just be one for some people]

It glorifies food waste

What I find concerning about food challenges is that they show on a small scale what is true in the world as a whole: when something becomes too cheap, we devalue it. Food is too cheap these days. Fact. Yet: just because a loaf of bread is available for next to nothing [obviously exaggerating here] doesn’t make it any less nutritious. We as a society need to regain appreciation for food. 10,000 calorie challenges and ‘mega cheat days’ encourage the opposite.

If it was just one person doing these challenges: still sad but oh well, there are some idiots in the world and it could be worse. However, this is a major trend that doesn’t seem to stop. If not 10,000 calories, then “major cheat days” or eating contests. It’s a disrespect of food. Glorification of it even. And I really cannot see anything worth celebrating about these challenges.

We won’t get into what competitive eating does to people’s intestines though if you’re interested, here’s a quick explanation on that.

If you agree but think that oh well, It’s just what it is and there’s nothing we can do about it, I beg to differ. We have more influence than we give ourselves credit for. We can choose to not watch and as such support these kind of videos. Supply and demand, friends.

This has gotten lenghty but if you read all of it: Tell me your thoughts!

Happiness-inducing today: An amazing summer day before the massive downpour that’s predicted to last all throughout today set in.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

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Currently … July 2017

Diving deep into the archives of the blog would tell me my previous Currently post happened a long time ago. In terms of the blog/online world: forever. About time to change that, don’t you think so?!

One more note: This is my fourth or so attempt at uploading this post as my laptop and/or the internet connection fluked out on me so I’m hoping every part of what I wrote was saved.  Now let’s get chatting!

Current book/reading material:

Where do I even start? It’s a wild mix. Kristy was ‘shocked’ to find I’m double-, even triple-dating here, depending on how you’d count. The reason for reading multiple books simultaneously is – as I explained before – my probably quirky habit of savouring literature. Also, I reserve certain books to certain times. I.e. right now I have one I only read in the mornings and change things up regarding what I read after work. The logic is that I as the absolute non-morning person need at least something to lure me out of bed early in the day [and I don’t drink coffee so there’s that ;)].

Nevertheless, I’m actually short on new books right now and have none I fancy re-reading already again. I’m doing the latter until I can decide on new ones again. Long story short: I am reading books but no English ones at the moment so none to mention here. However, one I read a while ago and can recommend is Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods wherein he – one of the funniest authors around – shares his experience of hiking the Appalachian Trail. With a good dose of humor but also focusing on the impact mankind had on nature over the past centuries.

Current quote:

Because the world needs more kindness. Always.

Listening to:

Podcasts! It’s only taken me about a million years to jump on that train but now it’s safe to say I’m hooked and understand everybody’s fascination with them. Truth is, podcasts don’t seem by far not as popular around here than they are for those of you on the other side of the pond. My current favourite [new discovery] is Talia’s Party in my Plants Podcast. As the name gives away, it’s all about having more fun with plants [get your head out of the gutter;)] but not in a preachy vegan way [Talia’s not vegan herself]. I’d actually heard of it/her way back already but wasn’t into podcasts at that time. All her puns, anecdotes and not taking things too seriously make this feel like having a conversation with a friend.

A side note: If you’re in recovery from an ED (not necessarily just but maybe particularly so orthorexia), this one might not be for you. This isn’t to take from my recommendation but if you’re easily shaken from your path to true health, some of the conversations might make you feel “unhealthy” or not good enough [i.e. the use of the term ‘crap’ for processed/fun foods or lengthy discussions of superfoods and exercise].

Current foods:

Call me weird but: carrots. Like crazy. I don’t know what it is but shredded carrots + almond milk + puffed spelt + coconut flour? Yessss. It’s like an upgraded cereal bowl. Don’t worry, I’m not subsisting on that – peanut butter and chocolate cravings are just a constant hardly worthy repeating anymore.

Also, anything tomato-y. My salsa kick is going strong and I plan on trying to make my own using this recipe  once I can steal harvest some tomatoes in my mum’s garden. Because while you lucky ducks in the US have a wide variety of salsa available, we’re seriously lacking here. By that I mean that – and this is if the store offers any at all – you’re limited to mild, medium and hot salsa or just two of those. All of which contain a good bit of sugar. Meh.

Current needs:

Good news. It’s been a rough time lately and I’m not seeing an upward trend yet. Still counting those silver linings –  I just don’t like pretending life was all sunshine and rainbows when it’s not.

Also: a new laptop. When I think my current one has hit its low, things are getting even worse. Just getting a blog post uploaded is a serious struggle.

Currently watching:

Fun fact that I may or may not have mentioned before: I do neither own a TV nor do I have a Netflix account. Sounds sad? Well, the latter is a little unfortunate. What this leaves me with is Youtube which is hit or miss. One of my favourite channels is this German one [Mr Wissen2Go; explaining important current (political) issues and general knowledge in a non-snoozefest-y way] and Jen Brett. I only found her channel recently and recommend it for anybody struggling in recovery, feeling like they ate too much/too unhealthy, like they needed to exercise 24/7 to be in shape or . On the first look, Jen appears to be your typical ‘fit girl’ but once again, first impressions can be misleading. She’s super sweet and encouraging so if you struggle with the above issues, definitely check her channel out.

This post is getting too long already so I’ll cut it off here, wish you a wonderful Thursday and am curious to hear about your current …

  • Book
  • Food
  • Needs
  • Accomplisments
  • Favourite YouTube channels?

Happiness-inducing today: Heading out to town by bike despite returning soaked wet thanks to the consistent downpour we experienced – getting  outside is a daily necessity for my happiness.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

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My kitchen must-have and acknowledging food privileges

Bloggers, raise your hand if you’ve been in a writing rut lately. Well, that’s been me these days and I’m not enjoying it. Some weeks thoughts and ideas are flowing through my brain faster than I can grab a pen – or access my phone – to write them down and others nothing goes. Ironically, just when I had mentally decided to give in and simply do some random Thinking out loud, one of the points I initially noted got my mind churning again. So I’ll reserve that one for another day but share some other randomness today to avoid falling out of the blogging loop completely.  Let’s get going!

Tell me: how do you – especially those of you in the US – prepare your tea? Or more specifically: how do you heat the water needed for it? A little birdy told me electric kettles aren’t really popular which stumped me because I’d never used anything else. Until now because – cue the tragical music – my kettle just quit its services [read: it broke]. On Sunday of all possible times obviously = no chance to get a new one right then and there .  Thrifty as I am I wasn’t ready to invest in a new one yet so have been relying on cooking water on the stove. I won’t lie in saying it first felt – okay, still feels – like a huge inconvience. But at that it also made me appreciate the daily convience I’m blessed to have every single day; hardly ever acknowledging the whole of it. If it’s between me and you, though, I do feel so priviled every time I just have a glass of tap water without worrying about germs and simply looking at the fact it’s so readily available to me.

Another thing in my kitchen I couldn’t don’t want to live without? Hands down my dishwasher. While I do a few dishes by hand if I want to reuse them again that day, just putting everything into the dishwasher at the end of the day and waking up to clean and dried dishes is amazing. A privilege I’m thankful for every single day.

Speaking of privilege: I stumbled upon this article the other day. It’s about the British chef Ruby Tandoh pointing out that the healthy lifestyle many people – particularly those striving for high protein intake and low-carb – live these days simply isn’t affordable for some. Now I know there are many posts out there sharing great advice on how to eat healthy on a budget and it’s definitely not impossible [but might require more time, knowledge and careful planning than some people have or can bring up]. I encourage you to read the full post to see the points Tandoh makes, though. What I agree with and have noticed myself is – through my own experience as somebody eating lots of fruit and vegetables – that fresh produce can easily make up a good chunk of your grocery bills. For families with multiple children – like Tandoh’s and many of those living on the brink of or in poverty – getting adequate amounts of food in on a budget doesn’t allow for such luxuries. So shaming any foods (think potatoes, white rice, grains in general) is plain wrong and I wish society as a whole did less of it [if at all]. We’re all just trying our best in this world and don’t all have the same chances. Just some food for thought.

Just like the privilege to buy almond butter. Thanks to Jen for the advice of keeping the unopened jar upside down for a day – it makes stirring so much easier. No huge oil spillage like on past occasions here and just a few clumps to smoothen out. Easy.

Something more light-hearted on my currently very heavy/deeper thought-filled mind is seeing my sister and P. again on the weekend. It’s been a few [too many] weeks since the previous time and will be my first time babysitting P. all by myself. I won’t lie in saying I’m a little nervous [and hoping for no necessary diaper changes in those few hours ;)]. Coming up for you on the weekend: more good good links!

For once not turning this into an endlessly wordy post – you’ve had a lot of these coming from me lately – I’ll end this here. Happy Thursday! We’re –this- close to the weekend!

Happiness-inducing today:  My current book and an unexpected smile.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

Share your thoughts on any or all of the above points with me!

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Of nudity, happy mums and small talk aversion

Hi!

Has it really been almost a week since we talked macros? It’s been somewhat of a rough time since. My family experienced a huge loss on the weekend and writing a Week in Review just didn’t happen. I do not want to talk about our loss any more but also couldn’t pretend nothing had happened. Rather than talk about myself, I decided to finally share another post in what I’d planned to be a little series on German life. There are a lot of differences between life here and in the US– we’re talking some juicy facts today ;).

A final note on my posting schedule for the week: As I’ll be traveling and attending the funeral on the other end of the country and won’t be back until – at the earliest – late on Saturday night I’ll try but might not be able to share the good good links on Sunday, either. In that case, be back on Monday for some of my latest favourites.

[As I have yet to figure out the whole technology issue – hoping to get to it soon, though – the pictures in this post aren’t entirely fitting but I had fun bringing back some  older favourites]

Thinking-Out-Loud

We don’t beat around the bush. Or: small talk wasn’t invented in Germany

Truth is: we like to cut right to the chase. Mailing somebody with business inquiries? There’s no need to ask how they are first. Just let them know what you need in a polite way and that’s it.

When you call somebody, don’t be surprised when they pick up the phone saying just their last name [say, “Maier”]. It’s unusual to say “hello?” upon picking up. If you read my previous post on differences between Germany and the US you might remember how “friendly” – cue the irony – cashiers often are. In that case you won’t be surprised to hear they’re not exactly going to chat you up for a short conversation. Because they want you to leave the store –fast–.  Okay, so we don’t all hate small talk. We’re just unlikely to be the ones initiating it.

Let’s get naked.

Or: Germans aren’t as afraid of nudity. Bare breasts on magazine covers at the supermarket? Check. Beaches that explicitly invite you to show off what you’ve got 😉 [German term: FKK-Strand]? Check. And if your doctor needs you to undress certain body parts for examination there’s neither a paravent nor will he usually leave the room as you strip off your clothes or hand you a paper gown. Ready for an even more ‘shocking’ fact?
 
Work and such

Prostitution is a legal business

Now this one I certainly don’t know from personal experience – I prefer keeping my clothes on at work ;). However, the fact is true. While you won’t exaxctly see prostitutes walking down the streets of your average small town neighbourhood there is in fact a certain ‘house’ – colloquially referred to as a “Puff” – smack dab in the middle of a neighbouring village. And if you’re in a larger city like Hamburg you absolutely can see the ladies strutting down Reeperbahn, waiting for business. Speaking of businesses and work …

Mum’s staying home – and dad might as well

This refers to one of the blessings new parents have over here. An expecting woman can legally – with very few exceptions – not be fired from the moment she gets pregnant until a minimum of two months postpartum. The mum-to-be is also legally granted “Mutterschutz” (pregnancy leave) from six weeks pre-birth until up to three years after birth if she decides to stay home with the baby. Her employer can’t fire her during this time, either, and parents receive “Elterngeld” [think – very simplified- the state paying a compensation for the usual income depending on the latter; at least 300 €/per month, max 1.800 €]. Additionally, the baby’s dad can apply for “Elternzeit”, too. My sister’s husband did this and was on parental leave from his main job [starting his second side business on the leave – with the approval of his boss] for some time, too.

 

Money, money, money

The one topic all Germans can agree on: GEZ

GEZ, short for “Gebühreneinzugszentrale” has to be one of every German’s most disliked institutions. They’re the friendly people who decided that every household has to pay a set monthly fee of €17.98 for TV, radio and New Media and – that’s the clue – regardless of whether you use those or not. Sounds great, right? Not.

Pay now, use later.

If you live in an apartment/house/whatever else and use electricity and the likes this is true for you. Yes, that’s right. You’re paying for the so-called “Nebenkosten” like electricity and gas in advance. If you end up using less than the providing companies assumed you’ll get money back at the end of the year.

Sunday, silent Sunday

Feel like your lawn is more than ready for a cut again? You’d better not plan on mowing it on a Sunday in Germany unless you want to get in contact with the authorites. Yes, mowing your lawn on Sunday is legally prohibited. As you might remember you can’t do your regular weekend shopping on this day, either.

That’s it for now though there are plenty more differences to share another time.

Happy Thursday!

Happiness-inducing today: The brightest sunshine in between all the rain we’ve been getting lately.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

Share your random thoughts with me!

If you’ve ever been to Germany: What’s something else you’ve found odd or was different?

If you’ve never been to Germany but noticed differences between your country and another one you’ve visited: share those! It’s amazing how different cultures are.

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Do you mind your macros [too much]?

Macros, hm? A topic that is constantly present in my life yet not. Not in that I don’t care about my macro split in the least yet present still because macro talk is an everyday given in the media and on all social media platforms, particularly blogs and Instagram.

The other day, I saw a girl, no, woman state her insecurity about eating at work. Knowing her colleagues might comment on her choices [plenty of grain-based meals aka ‘carbs’] like they had in the past. So for fear of comments this grown-up woman and mum of a little one went through her work day not eating a single bite until she got home in the afternoon. Luckily, in her post she was opening up about these struggles and making the resolution to start bringing food to work again – a small success . What is making me very sad, though, is knowing she’s no exception.

Just a short time browsing blogs, not only WIAW posts, is enough to spy a lot of macronutrient-embracing language or ‘excuses’ for cosuming ‘too much’ of a particular macros..

“I love carbs!”

“Give me alllll the carbs!” vs. “Give me allll the fats!”

and on the guilty side

“Wow, I ate a lot of carbs today. Not enough protein in there.”

“Carbs on carbs on carbs – at least I had some vegetables on the side!”

*Protein never seems to require any further explanations because it’s the one ‘good guy’ everyone seems to agree on. Which is funny as it’s the one macronutrient that – when consumed in excess – may potentially lead to kidney diseases of some individuals so it’s not  a one-fits-all recommendation.

Onto the first category: Macro-embracing so: what’s wrong with that you ask? Nothing in general and I want to stress that I am not judging you or anybody who’s using this language. What I’m curious about is the reasoning behind these statements. Why do we feel the need to enthusiastically show our fondness of certain macronutrients? What I assume is that we – collectively as a generation; our grandparents sure didn’t count macros  – want to shout from the rooftops how unafraid of the ‘big bad’ carbs/fat we are. In some cases there’s what seems to be an added justification  [“eating all the carbs because: leg day!”].  Actually a sad fact. We should not be afraid because for heaven’s sake it’s all just food. Carbohydrates. Fats. Protein. Food. We do not need to earn food or explain our choices to anybody. Period.

Yes, by now the example is way overused but: look at the way children eat. Have you ever seen a toddler call for ‘more protein, hold the bread, please!”? Carefully shove aside the rice on his plate, eating only vegetables and protein? We’re not much different from toddlers when it comes to food. Grown-up, yes. Yet our minds have been manipulated by food companies, magazines and the likes to return to an almost infant-like state. Absorbing information that more confuses than empowers us or strengthens our intuitive knowledge of what’s good for us. The more often we’re told protein was key for saturation and carbs made us sluggish, the more likely we are to accept these statements as truths; no matter if they actually are for us personally.

A car isn’t proud to tout the fact it’s slurping up allll the gas. We know the fact of the latter being its prime [or in the machine’s case: only] source of fuel much like ours/our brain’s are carbohydrates [side note: yes, I’ve heard of the keto diet but don’t agree with its idea of ‘forcing’ our organism to use fat as its main fuel]. No need to explain, much less defend a natural inclination to eat these wonderful nutrients and plenty of them.

Nut butter drizzle

The average healthy person should give a flying fudge* about macronutrient amounts. Especially since no day is different – and no, this is not related to whatever kind of workout we do or don’t do – needs for certain macros vary. Trying to preplan and manage macros is a waste of time and revelry against our bodies’ intuitive wisdom.  Whether you are keen on carbs, fancying fat or partial to protein: it doesn’t change my view or opinion of you in the very least. In fact, an inclination to eat more of one macronutrient might very well be genetically predisposed. Trying to modify our genetic preferences a) doesn’t work, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves and b) ultimately leaves us constantly feeling unsatisifed. Athletes altering their macro intake for perfomance are an entirely different topic that would justify a post on its own so I didn’t include it here.

Quark_protein

I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk about food. Please, I’m a blogger after all, too. But I wish we would change the way we talk about food. Not seeing it as its macronutrients but: Colours. Visual appeal. Taste! We as a society are [mostly] in the lucky situation – different from our grandparents’ generation or the populations of other countries – to see food as far more than fuel [aka: macros or energy]. We eat for taste, pleasure, fun and all these require no explanation, no defenses. Just appreciation for good food.

*purty expression borrowed from a British friend of mine

Happiness-inducing today: A client bringing in a little food gift for me specifically in addition to cake for the whole team [which has become a regular whenever she visits]. It wasn’t so much about the food but the thoughtfulness and unexpected appreciation.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

It might not surprise you when I say I could have gone on and on about the topic. Yet this post is long enough as is already and I only spontaneously decided to join Amanda’s Thursday thinking party so I’ll hand the mic over to you. Let me know your thoughts in the comments! If you have talked about macros in similar ways as mentoned here: was there a reason? I might be wrong with my assumptions on the ‘why’ and would happily find out people’s reasons.

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