bloaty : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

Old Tradition, New Problem

The human animal was made, for better or worse, with a pretty good capacity for both memory and a lot of nostalgia. That may be what separates us from other species.

For me, almost every holiday over the course of a year has a tradition. Something, usually food related, that I feel I must do or ingest in order to properly celebrate. The connection usually relates to something that happened when I was a kid and having that food, the preparation, the tasting, the memories, evokes good memories for me.

I’m very driven by food related memories.

Examples include Cadbury eggs at Easter, a hamburger over a grill with burned edges for Fourth of July and a big pile of stuffing with gravy on top for Thanksgiving.

Getting my drift?

And then there’s Christmas. There are plenty of happy food memories we all have at Christmas. For me it’s tamales (how much do I miss living in New Mexico where neighbors and coworkers would give me tamales at the holidays?), Biscochitos, and mom’s homemade cinnamon rolls

And there is one more thing I really love in the month of December: Egg Nog.

Oh lord how I love Egg Nog.

I don’t generally like fluid milk, but add the cream back to it and I’m totally on board. I mean, egg nog is basically milk, cream, sugar and eggs with some spices. That’s it.

You wouldn’t normally tip back a container of full cream and glug glug it down…except at Christmas where a spicy glass is like a mother’s hug. I can drink glass after glass of the stuff.

Totally unhealthy, but what the hell, it’s the holidays! Wooo!

Oh wait.

Yeah, one small hitch. I’ve recently developed a wee bit of lactose intolerance.

When I cried to my doctor to fix it, he simply chuckled and said this happens to a lot of people as they age.

Awesome. Thanks, pal.

I recently read a great article in the Australian online magazine, “The Peach” where the author speaks bluntly of her lactose intolerance.

I found one paragraph completely describes how I feel about it:

Lactose intolerance is very much bowel related which makes it an awkward allergy. A peanut allergy can make you go into anaphylactic shock, sure, but you won’t crap your pants in the meantime. A bee sting can make you swell up like a pumpkin, but here’s hoping you won’t let out a giant fart on your way to the emergency room. There are so many life-threatening allergies out there, so I am extremely lucky to have one that simply makes me bum-sick…

Source.

Yeah. But still…..

Lactaid is certainly helpful, but it’s a very imperfect solution. It makes the issues less, but does not alleviate them entirely.

Which means after slugging down two glasses of Egg Nog for dinner last night (not with…FOR) about an hour later my darling spouse was treated to some rude behavior from my lower digestive tract.

Just don’t let my chestnuts get too close to that open fire, if you know what I’m saying.

And I think you do.







Image by -rentnarb and downloaded royalty free from Deviant Art.



You Scream, I Do Something Else Entirely — For Ice Cream

It’s a blisteringly hot summer day in Albuquerque and mom has hauled her three monkey children to the swimming pool at the Coronado Club (inside of Kirtland Air Force Base) to cool off and work off some energy.

I’ve swam and swam until all my digits are little prunes and then I swim a little bit more for good measure. Exhausted, I finally drag myself out of the pool to lay on the scalding hot concrete and let the sun dry chlorinated water from my arms and legs.

Mom is out in the grassy area surrounding the pool reading a book or chatting with friends. She always finds a lot of folks she knows at the Coronado Club. She’s been coming here since she was just eighteen.

I find my mom and plop into a lawn chair with my beach towel. Starving, I gulp down a sandwich or some cold fried chicken or whatever fun stuff mom has packed into the ice chest.

As the late afternoon sun begins to cast slanted shadows on the ground, if I’m lucky and have been a good kid, I’ll ask my mom for some money and she’ll agree. Cash in hand, I’ll dash to the food stand and procure a soft serve vanilla or chocolate ice cream in a cone.

I’ll bear the thing proudly, like Lady Liberty and her torch, then I’ll savor every last drippy bite.

Ah, summer and ice cream were made for each other.

However, lately, something dark and insidious rumbles inside of me, irrevocably breaking the summer fun and ice cream connection.

Seems I’ve developed a little ol’ thing called lactose intolerance.




It ain’t right. It’s some cosmic comedy, it has to be. Dairy and I are friends from way back. Ok, I can’t stand fluid milk, but sour cream, all manner of cheese, ice cream and half and half in my coffee are what make walking in this mean old world seem tolerable.

The Good Man marvels still at the vast array of dairy products I have in my fridge. I have a whole drawer devoted to cheese! Well, I used to…

Me? Lactose intolerant? It just isn’t even funny. Not one little bit.

I took my concerns to my doctor who nodded thoughtfully and said, “Well, you know, that happens pretty frequently to people over the age of forty. It’s common as we age.”

Great. That makes me feel ever so much better.

I use Lactaid and it helps some. It is, at best, an imperfect solution.

The only real cure is to stop eating dairy entirely.

Well that ain’t gonna happen.

That said, I have cut waaaaay back. And because the universe has a really excellent sense of humor, I also get rumbly tummy from soy milk, the most common substitute.

So far hemp milk and almond milk are my frontrunners for adding to coffee and having an ice cream-like treat.

They are fine, but just…not the same.

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for almond milk iced dessert” just doesn’t have the same ring.

Because we don’t all scream for that.

*sigh*




Image is, of course, The Scream by Edvard Munch, and is used under Fair Use as the image is considered Public Domain in the United States.

This week’s Theme Thursday is: ice cream



No Substitute for Sense

As I’ve been fighting the demon of lactose intolerance, lately I’ve been sampling several different milk alternatives.

Soy, hemp, almond, grain, etc. All of ’em.

The one thing they have in common in the strongly worded admonition on the side of the container that the product shouldn’t be used as a substitute for baby formula.

All because of that one couple who fed only soy milk and apple juice to their baby, and the baby died.

So I’d been thinking about just this very topic recently when lo and behold, my friend NewMexiKen posted this today (from a 1956 Life Magazine):



Via The Consumerist, click image for full story.


From the ad copy: “For a fact, you can even give this sparkling drink to babies—and without any qualms. Lots of mothers do just that!”

Faboo! Sort of reminds me of the old family scrapbook I have where my grandparents wrote down the formula to feed their first baby. The recipe is Karo syrup and milk. My Aunt turned out fine, so I guess it was ok.


Tough Decision

So…I wondered to myself after a very long and dreary day on Monday…

As I was driving home, as low as I’ve been in a while (my favorite employee tendered her resignation) I knew I needed something comforting upon my arrival home. There are two ways this comfort could go, in my mind: sugar or alcohol.

Which made me then start to try to weigh pros and cons, and I arrived at the question:

Which is worse better more beneficial to my mental health and less detrimental to my physical health:

Two donuts or two beers?

There is an AMAZING donut shop on my way home from work. It’s a local place where they make fresh donuts on site every day. It’s a heavenly experience just walking in the door.

On the other hand…I had two pints of Murphy’s Stout cooling their heels to chilled perfection in my fridge. Oooh the creamy foam.

Now…the answer couldn’t be “have both!” because while I’m certainly self destructive, I am lately trying to at least attempt to be a bit more health conscious.

Two donuts and two beers seemed a bit over the top.

So one might say “how about one donut and one beer?” That’s a fair question. Logical, really. I’ll spare you the long psychological reasoning, but I’ll simply confess that I have this weird OCD about having “just one.”

Whatever I was going to have, it was going to be two.

And don’t even bother suggesting “have neither and go take a walk.” I was way past that point.

So let’s get to the basic facts:

Two old fashioned donuts comprise 560 calories, 22 grams fat, 82 carbs, and 6 grams protein.*

Two pints of Murphy’s stout come up to 400 calories, 0 grams fat, 46 carbs, and 4 grams protein.

Hookay. Well, the beer is a few less calories, carbs and fat, so from a nutrition standpoint, beer seems to be the winner.

How about the mental side? Well, alcohol is a bit of a depressant and it was likely that after two beers I’d be even more maudlin than I already was (a good Irish depression). The sugar and carbs in the donuts are a serotonin booster, so for mood enhancement, the donuts win.

How about the after effects? Well, after the upside of the two beers wore off, I’d feel a bit headachy, dehydrated, bloaty, possible gastric distress and a bit mind muddled. After the good part of two donuts wore off I’d feel guilty, bloaty (owing to gluten sensitivity), possible gastric distress and a bit mind muddled. We’ll call this one a draw.

So now I’m back to square one. Both have benefits. Both have drawbacks.

How to choose?

It’s a delicious problem to have.



Photo credit: Thomas James Spravka



In case the suspense is killing you…I chose two old fashioned donuts for drowning my sorrows and I don’t regret it.

Nutrition info from My-Calorie-Counter.com

Photo by Thomas James Spravka and found on Draft Magazine



My Bounceback Done Gone

First of all…I’m glad to be back on the interwebs. The hotel where I’m staying this week is supposed to have free WiFI, and in the past, it’s always been great, allowing me to surf and do email with ease.

During this week it’s been dog slow. At one point it took a half hour for a page to load. For three days I’ve been begging someone to restart the router on my floor and this netted me many a blank stare from the hotel staff.

They finally gave me a tech support number and the nice tech support guy in another country diagnosed my technical issues. And then he restarted the router. Sheesh!

Aaaaaanyhow….

Along with interweb woes, I’ve been living it up a little on the road food. (see my abject joy of Sonic post).

Lately (meaning, prior to this trip) I’ve been trying to eat small meals several times a day. Good small meals with lots of lean protein and less sugar along with going easy on the dairy, and no gluten.

God I’m getting old. Look at that paragraph above. Sheesh.

But…when I do all of that and throw in a little exercise, I feel pretty good. I sleep well. My brain is clear. I have energy.

Today, I had to endure a daylong training class. I did nothing more than sit on my rear all day. No exercise and boooooring. So to pass the time I poured milk in my coffee (bloat) and had a pastry from the oh too pretty plate of goodies (tummy gurgle) and ate a sizeable lunch on top (*burp*).

Now I’m all bloated up like Violet Beauregarde (the one who swelled up into a blueberry and had to be juiced) and wondering just what in the heck possessed me when I know better?

As I said to the good man via a whiny text message….”A few minutes of :) for several days of :( Ugh!”

Ugh, indeed.

It didn’t used to be like this. I used to be able to eat dairy and wheat and fats of all sorts of saturation with reckless abandon!

Where did it all go wrong?

I aged. That’s where it all went wrong. At 22 I could bounce back from a journey down cheesey tater tot lane in about a day. Now it takes me many days and some hard work and diligence just to come back to even.

*sigh*

Thus ends my whining for the day.

I know, I know…ya’ll went two days without a blog post for this? Hmph!

I’ll try harder tomorrow.