My Life of What Ifs

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Getting Real

Isn't it ironic, don'tcha think?  A little too ironic?  You know I really do think...

I can never get over how once you hear of something it seems to pop up everywhere.  Yes, of course, it's only because you are aware of it now, whatever it may be, and therefore in tune to when it's mentioned on TV, on the Internet, or in casual conversation.  For me, it's my interest in eating better and the steps I am going to take to make my family's food choices healthier and more nutritious.  The key words here are 'Real Food'.

 Last Wednesday I attended a webinar sponsored by Mamapedia and the California Milk Advisory Board.  The webinar was called "Getting Real About Health" and two of the featured contributors were Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough authors of Real Food Has Curves: How to Get Off Processed Food, Lose Weight, and Love What You Eat
Real Food Has Curves: How to Get Off Processed Food, Lose Weight, and Love What You Eat 
Weinstein and Scarbrough discussed the first three steps in their book and talk about ironic!  They are steps that I have been talking of incorporating already.  And really, they are not inhumane, self-depriving practices!  They incorporate some great research along with a little common sense.

Gut Insight: probiotics and prebiotics for digestive health and well-beingThe webinar also featured Jo Ann Hattner, author Gut Insight: probiotics and prebiotics for digestive health and well-being.  This is ironic for two reasons.  One, the ladies over at NourishMD praise the benefits of probiotics. So in my recent research I have heard this term used frequently, and two, she spent some time debunking the myths of the nutrition benefits of dairy, and I have a friend who after my last post informed me of his strong feelings on that subject.  (Jimmy, I neither agree or disagree.  I am taking it all in :P)  June is, after all, National Dairy Month.

The first step that Weinstein and Scarbrough list in their book is 'Learn the secrets to satifaction'.  In other words if you choose foods that taste great you will be better satisfied and eat less.  It seems odd, but they say that the more time people spend shopping for, preparing, and tasting their food- the less they weigh.  The key is choosing foods that taste great and help you feel satiated.

Step two is to 'Make informed choices'.  It's not black or white, it's not good or bad, it's about not feeling like a bad person if you can't do it the perceived 'right' way all of the time.  It's about making the best choice for you at the time.  My interpretation of this is- I won't be arrested if I have to buy a pre-made something or other, as long as it's the best choice at the time.

Finally, the third step is to 'Relish what you eat'.  Don't deprive yourself, you won't succeed.  Diets fail because we are not motivated by punishing ourselves if we partake in something that is deemed a no-no.  We are motivated by positive experiences, you have to run on pleasure.  Slow down and enjoy your food.

I don't find any of those steps absurd.  In fact, they inspired me to learn more.  I am trying to learn from a variety of sources and combine all of the information into a plan that works best for me.  That is why I was so interested in what Hattner had to say about the myths of dairy.  The first myth she addressed is that drinking milk causes early puberty.  Hattner claims there is no research to back that up and that excessive weight is generally what triggers early puberty.  Again, I am not saying I agree or disagree, but it does make sense.  Girls today drink less milk than we did at their age, so who knows?

Hattner also touches on lactose intolerance, dairy as a cause for being overweight, organic milk vs. regular milk, and if foods other than dairy are better sources of calcium.  All interesting, all valid, all up for debate.

I think what it all comes down to is that everything is going to be just fine, fine, fine, if we learn more about our food and apply that to our everyday lives.  Food shouldn't make us feel bad.  We need nourishment to survive, so how can that be a negative?  But we can make better choices.  Informed choices.  Real choices.  I, for one, am ready, are you?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Got a little Bret Michaels in me

I'm not feeling well.  And for once I don't mean mentally.

I've been having a lot of headaches.  And my eye is doing something.  It's not really a twitch so much as a tightening.  The rest of my body just hates me.

Nothing to Lose (Featuring Miley Cyrus)Bret Michaels had a stroke today. I wonder...

I'm gonna be making some changes.  I'm 38 now, and it's 38 or never.  I've made changes before, but now it's so much WORSE!  I feel like a hoss.  As in, "Heya Hoss, how about another helpin' of crap you don't need to eat?"

I attended a webinar yesterday called "Getting Real About Health".  It was sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board and Mamapedia.  The authors of the book Real Food Has Curves: How to Get Off Processed Food, Lose Weight, and Love What You Eat spoke and I really liked what they had to say.

I've also decided to spend some time with Angelle from NourishMD.  She has some great ideas as well on how REAL food can help your health in so many ways.  She's also local, and her daughter is in our Girl Scout troop.  How's that for easy access?

I don't wanna sing "Don't know what you got, 'til it's gone".  But I do want "something to believe in".  I think this is just another step on my journey, and I will share with you as I go.  It won't be "nothin' but a good time".  I swear.

Get well soon Bret.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Music Memory Monday

The saga continues.  The neglected blog trudges forward.  More soul baring ensues.  Yeah, whatever.

Time's Makin' Changes - The Best of Tesla

I have always been someone who really listens to the lyrics in a song. When I was younger, and before the beauty of the Internet, I spent endless hours with my tape player and a notebook writing down the lyrics to special songs line by line.

In early 1992 my first boyfriend and I broke up. During our two years together I had made him the customary mix tapes usually complete with lyrics, or at the very least meaningful lines from each song. I know he appreciated the sentiment, but still he never returned the gesture. Until we broke up.

I was living alone and dating here and there. He would come home from college, drink too much with his buddies and show up on my doorstep. One night he showed up with the cassette single of Tesla's What You Give and he had written down the lyrics, line by line, complete with interpretation.

He basically said I was ungrateful for breaking up with him, and that if I had invested more into our relationship like he had, we would still be together. He said that the lyrics in the song should tell me how he felt and what he was going through. It was ironic that I had wished he would return the sentiment I had given him many times, only to have him do in anger, not love. At least it wasn't in love from where I was standing.

Luckily, it's a rare occasion to stumble upon a Tesla song on the radio. But our local "shuffle" station has played it and I catch myself feeling that utter disbelief at being called ungrateful all over again.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Girls' Life Guides: 'tween-appropriate and a giveaway

I am the mom of a tween.  I have the mentality of an older sister. 

So, while I am trying very hard to have an honest, we-can-talk-about-anything kind of relationship with my oldest daughter, I am also killing myself on the inside so that I appropriately tell her that the hand-me-down padded bra she received from her older cousin isn't quite necessary yet for her barely-there buds.  And I resist the urge to hand her a box of kleenex and tell her what she could do with them.

This Mom stuff is hard.  As a 38-year-old with a 16-year-old smart ass attitude it's a challenge not to say bra too loudly in Target.  It's difficult not to yell "Do you think he's cute?" whenever a cute boy is in the vicinity.  There are rules for public and there are rules for home.  'Cuz if the Jonas Brothers are on the tv screen, I'm gonna pick on you. I only have so much self-control.

Amidst my childlike antics I also have a worrier.  I'm a worrier, she's a worrier, wouldn't you like to be a worrier too?  Or, shootin' out the walls of heartache, bang, bang, I am the worrier.

And I don't want the little worrier to freak out about anything more than she already does, thus causing me more worry.  Make sense?

So needless to say I was quite pleased when I learned that Girls' Life Magazine and Scholastic had published a set of Girls' Life Guides that can answer questions for my little worrier in the safety of her own space, without her mother yelling "How about a froggy BRA?" too loudly nearby.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I am not washing my hands of this subject and telling my daughter to just read a book.  These are great books with awesome illustrations and they are written in a way that won't cause my tween any more anxiety.  But I am still here, still involved, with the words "is he your BOYfriend?" on the tip of my tongue.

The first two books in the series, Girls' Life Head-to-Toe Guide To You and Girls' Life Ultimate Guide To Surviving Middle School were released earlier this spring.  They are chock full of advice from pimples and periods to first day jitters and opening your locker.

The series is written by Karen Bokram, Publisher and Founding Editor of Girls' Life magazine and  I am proud to hand these to my pre-pubescent pretty and say "take a look, let me know what you there...cough".  No really, these are great books.

In September the next two books in the series will be released Girls' Life Guide To A Drama-Free Life and Girls' Life Guide to Making Smart Decisions.  But in the meantime I have a set of the first two books to giveaway to you!!!

All you have to do is leave me a comment below telling me about your tween/teen and how you hope the Girls' Life Guides can compliment what you are already teaching and sharing with your daughter.  For a second entry you can become a follower of my blog or follow me on twitter.  Be sure to leave a comment for each entry for more chances to win.  Be sure to leave your email in the comment so I know how to find you.

Now tell me- what color is your BRA???  Just kidding.  I really dont want to know...

P.S.  I also recommend Scholastic's BFF Quiz Books- Chocolate Or Vanilla? (Quick Quizzes for Bff'S), Sweet Or Spicy? (Quick Quizzes for Bff'S) and Friend Or Flirt? (Quick Quizzes for Bff'S).  They shouldn't be taken to seriously but are great entertainment for when stricken by a case of "we're boorrrrrrrreeeeed". 

No purchase necessary to enter. Winners will be selected randomly through Entries that do not follow all of the entry requirements will not be considered. Open to participants in the US only, 18 years and older. Contest ends May 16, 2010 at 11:59:59 p.m. EST.

I was given a set of the Girls' Life Guides for review. The opinions expressed in this post are mine and mine alone and are not influenced in any way by anyone.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My interview with Thomas Balmès, Director of Babies

I love Babies.  I mean, I love babies, but I don't want anymore of my own, but I can't wait to see Babies.  The movie.

Opening this Mothers Day Weekend on Friday, May 7, Babies simultaneously follows four babies around the world – from birth to first steps. The children are, respectively, in order of on-screen introduction: Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia; Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani; Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, who resides with her family in the United States, in San Francisco.

Presented by Focus Features from an original idea by producer Alain Chabat, Babies is directed by award-winning filmmaker Thomas Balmès who was kind enough to share some time with me and Carrie a blogger from Seattle and answer our questions about a film sure to melt the hearts of many.

How do you go from making the types of non-fiction films you have made in the past to making a documentary about babies?

Any film I am doing, and it can be about the conversion of a tribe in Papua New Guinea, or it can be about the social work conditions in China from the Nokia factory, what is always important for me is the form and the way I am going to tell a story.  All my films are dealing with the same issues, which are the western way of thinking, the western way of believing, and the western way of behaving, and just challenging and bringing up questions of feeling that this is the only way of doing things.

So I can repeat myself with different subjects but I don't think that I'm doing a different film.  All the films are almost the same in a way, so the subject is babies but it is not only that and once you see the film you will understand that this is something about globalization.

How did you pick the families that were involved in this movie?

What I was really looking for in the four babies was their environment and the capacity to be metaphorical of four ways of being confronted by the western way of living.  You have a diversity there of being totally disconnected from that western way of living in Namibia to something that is a bit more connected in Mongolia, to something a bit more connected in America and then something where I guess the whole world is going to be in the next 10 years in Tokyo.

We wanted to find four families in which all of them would be loving parents.  Happy parents with the idea of getting a baby, not having any trouble in social problems, this is not something about social conditions in different countries, it is much more about watching this baby growing up with eight different parents but in different enviroments.

How old are the babies in the film?

Right now the babies are all between three and four.  I started to film in 2006 through February 2008 and I covered between 12 and 18 months of their lives.  They were not all born at the same time.

What was the biggest challenge in filming this movie?

The biggest challenge was not being too disturbing to the families both in Japan and America.  You can imagine the kind of committment I could get from the families for allowing me in their living rooms for such a long time.  Even a few hours can be so disturbing on your private life.

The other challenge was to keep my wife from divorcing me and my own three young children happy for the almost 400 days of shooting I was away.  I always say I spent more time with these four babies then I did my own family.

Many families were met with in each country and their participation was determined by their stage of pregnancy when it was time to begin filming.  Balmes is very pleased with the four families picked for the film and stays in touch.  He spent time with each family last December showing them the film and getting their feedback, which he called a 'fascinating process'.

The good news is that they all loved it which was not obvious when I started the film.  Doing such a documentary sometimes you have to be pushy and convince them to let you film things that they don't think are interesting or that they won't be represented well.

Balmes says there are many hilarious moments in the film, but he is never making fun of anyone.

The idea is not to be judgemental to these different cultures but to just give a mirror to our society and maybe challenge a few beliefs we have of what we should do and what we should not do with our kids, on many issues.

I think I will be fascinated by the similarities between the different families that you wouldn't expect.

The similarities are much more important than the differences.  What ever you are surrounded by, where ever you live, nothing compares to the time and affection and the love you get from your parents.  There is this kind of universal need from these four babies and as long as you're loved everything goes well, and as long as your parents love you and spend some time with you you're going to be fine.

This is a universal film and there is one message.  If you watch the trailer, and take notice of the opening shot and the closing shot you will see a good representation of the subject of the film.

Thomas Balmès has been working as an independent director and producer of nonfiction films, specializing in international co-productions, since 1992. His initial projects included studies of filmmakers James Ivory and Michelangelo Antonioni.

Mr. Balmès directed his first film in 1996; Bosnia Hotel was the story of U.N. Kenyan peacekeepers in Bosnia. This was followed by Maharajah Burger; Mad Cows; Holy Cows, about the mad cow crisis as seen from the Indian perspective; and The Gospel According to the Papuans in 2000. The latter, tracking the conversion to Christianity of a Papuan Chief, was honored with the Silver Spire Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival. He directed a sequel in Papua the following year, Waiting for Jesus.
A Decent Factory, the story of a Nokia executive who inspects a mobile phone factory in China, was screened at more than 50 film festivals and received many honors, including a Europa Award. The film was released theatrically in the U.S. in 2005.

Damages, a.k.a. How Much Is Your Life Worth?, was filmed at a Connecticut law firm specializing in personal injury cases, and was co-produced by 15 countries and broadcast worldwide.
Mr. Balmès initiated a series for national Japanese television, Tokyo Modern; and produced A Normal Life – Chronicle of a Young Sumo Wrestler, directed by Jill Coulon, which screened at Amsterdam´s 2009 International Documentary Film Festival.
He is regularly invited to conduct lectures and master classes in France; and abroad, such as at the 2008 Lisbon International Film Festival, and at Brown University and the Watson Institute in 2009.

I was not compensated in any way for printing this interview or sharing the materials or my thoughts on Babies.  I may receive contest entries for clicks on my content but my opinions were not influenced any way by anyone.  I am a bzzagent :)