Riot not Diet

I have a tee-shirt that says RIOT NOT DIET in big black letters across the front and it is my favourite tee shirt to wear when all my Miss Crabb dresses are at the dry cleaners. Lol. (I’m only half joking – I may have an unhealthy obsession with NZ’s queen of the silky sack.)

I love wearing my tee shirt because it causes two very different reactions from people pretty much without fail. Older people – older than me because I’m still not forty and as far as I’m concerned that means I’m youngish – get all ‘Ooooh are you trying to incite a riot?’ and ‘Hey don’t you work for the man hur hur’ and are generally uncomfortable and make lame jokes. Or they make self deprecating jokes about how they actually do need to go on a diet and, almost apologetically, go in to great detail about how much weight they are trying to lose and what they are denying themselves in order to achieve this. The diet-describers are %100 women.

It’s a great tee-shirt because the girls I teach ask about it – where did you get it Ms? (Feminist Apparel FYI – it’s not great quality – the print on my tee shirt won’t last long with regular washing – but it didn’t cost an arm and a leg so who cares?). And we have really good conversations about how what comes out of their heads and their opinions on the world that they live in and how their political activism is SO much more important than their waist size. And what’s even more great is that the girls – particularly my big girls – the year 13’s – totally get it. They are the girls who asked if they could leave Prefect camp to go and protest the TPPA. They are the girls who make up the Human rights group at AGGS and the Global Citizenship group and Youth Parliament and are going off to Uni and to the workforce, and they are the girls who are the leaders of tomorrow.

I have made a conscious effort, since November last year when I commented on a friends weight loss ‘Oh my god you look amazing! how did you do it?!’ to not comment on peoples appearances since. Because my friend responded that actually she had been quite sick, was on daily medication and was struggling to maintain a healthy weight. This really brought home to me this dangerous and damaging idea of smaller being more important than healthy, of skinny being more valuable than happy and the idea that womens bodies (in particular) are constantly being consumed and judged by the world at large. This is not news to you.

But I see it at school too – the girls who take up space, literally take up space because they are TALL and STRONG and some of them are fat BUT (and crucially) unapologetic and they expect to be allowed to take up space – THESE are the girls who I get constant complaints about. Some of these girls are genetically pre-disposed to be taller and stronger and larger in hair and volume and general mass than the rest of our school’s population and all of these things mean they are considered less than.

Because girls are meant to be small, and quiet and compliant right?

Because girls and women are taught that the smaller they can get themselves the better they are doing and somehow they have ‘won’ and shown us that they are worthy of being listened to and respected and taken seriously. Because statistically we know that thinner women are paid more and given the ‘good’ jobs and this is because they have shown us that they can control the biggest danger there is to modern civilisation – the female body.

And every day girls are taught that their waist size is a better judge of their worth than their minds and their thoughts and their politics. That to be quiet and make themsleves take up less space somehow they’ll get in to less trouble at school.

And every day I receive a complaint in my inbox about one of my bigger girls ‘showing too much skin’ or wearing inappropriate clothes for school (shorts in this heat) or generally taking up space somewhere – and damnit they looked like they didn’t care what any body thought. All sitting around, smiling and laughing and looking happy to be there. That’s what galls the complainants the most. The girls aren’t tyring to minimise themselves.

And in the staff meeting when I was asked what I was going to do about getting a dress code enforced with my cohort (only the year 13’s can wear Mufti and I’m year 13 Dean this year) and I said that I didn’t feel comfortable telling them how to dress when it really wasn’t my business (and it felt tantamount to slut-shaming) and I really pissed some people off who felt like I wasn’t doing my job.

And essentially, all of this is a lesson for me. Because every day I get up and go to school and tell my grrls that I’ll support them no matter what they look like as long as they are kind, thoughtful, critical thinkers. And I am struggling to do the same thing for myself.

Ironic? Probably not actually – ask the GD he is quick to point out when something isn’t actually ironic.

I wear the tee shirt for me too when I am focussing too much on minimising myself and not enough on the potential my job affords me and the wonderful people in my life and their radical ideas.

 

 

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Misters

I can’t believe how fast the year feels like it is going all of a sudden!

You may be back at work? You may be still camping up north or similar, or if you are like me you are winding up slowly, getting your head back in the game and starting to put some hours in…

I have been lost in a swirl of house stuff, work stuff and Netflix ha ha. I have watched some bloody GOOD TV in the past couple of weeks and I can highly recommend Fresh Meat to anyone wanting a new Bingewatch – Vod is my new style crush! So cool. Can you guess which one she is? (a hint; it’s not the one in Overalls which may surprise you). I think I watched three seasons in about four days – new season coming out this year! Wahay! (can you tell I only really get to watch TV when I’m on holiday? I’m well behind what everyone is watching – don’t ask me about Making a Murderer).

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Anyways – I wanted to put a good word in for Misters in the city. I don’t need to because they’ve been around for a while and are well established for being GREAT but I finally managed to get there today with my grrl Alissa and it was SUCH a revelation to be able to eat ANYTHING off the menu. They are right in town (don’t tell the GD about my $22.50 parking! Jebus! I won’t be using that Wilsons building again – it cost more than lunch!) and get this – the Chef has Coeliacs! So they run a completely gluten and dairy free kitchen – which means – you know where I’m going – NO RISK WHATSOEVER of cross contamination! I went in cautiously – sometimes the combination of gluten and dairy free can mean lacking a certain taste factor but needn’t have been worried. I highly recommend. You should go there NOW and get something delicious to eat.

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          dscn4195          Misters new menu in copy

 

129 – hibernating or the nearest possible thing to it

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Recently my eldest has become obsessed with the idea of hibernation – following an article that we read about a 90 yr old tortoise that had been given wheels after her front legs were EATEN OFF HER by rats in hibernation. He is bummed, as am I, that humans don’t get to hibernate. That we, as a society, tend to look down upon people who take to their beds for winter – refusing to get up for anything other than food or ablutions. That we throw around labels like ‘lazy’, ‘unmotivated’ or ‘depressed’ simply because someone cannot bear the thought of crawling out of bed on another cold and rainy day for work or school or whatever. Well I think that attitude sucks tbh. Obvs it would be even better if we could slow our heartbeats down to one beat per minute and not require food or the bathroom during this time period as well and really settle in for good snooze (imagine the un-intentional weight loss and gut healing that would happen too without all the food! I’d wake up able to tackle all of the delicious-ness pain free!).

However in the absence of human hibernation, because – you know – I have to work and raise my children and boring responsible shit like that, there are a couple of things I do when the (slightly) colder days of Autumn kick in, to keep myself snuggly and at optimum comfort level no matter where I am.

The first thing is manipulation of the wardrobe. In order to ‘take the duvet with me’ wherever I go, I employ two rules when clothing myself in the morning;

  • Volume
  • Layers

The larger and more shapeless the dress or pants the better – like swimming around in a sheet – and then if you add an oversized cardi or coat it’s just like a walking around in a well dressed bed. If it’s raining I wear my rubber high top chucks. Interesting shoes and jewellery are key so you don’t look like a toddler who escaped daycare. This look is neither sexy or even vaguely figure flattering but it is damned comfortable. I also like to mix up fabrics and textures, wool with silk with leather etc. Very satisfying, very comfortable. I feel like I can cope with almost any weather Mother Nature throws at me and my clothes feel like they are giving me a cuddle all day long – Bliss. I’m really IN to clothes – I don’t know if you’ve picked up on that yet? Really, really in to clothes. Totes shallow and totes ok with that.

Number 2? Food. Comfort food to be exact. Cups of tea with toast. Hot soup. Roast dinners with heaps of roasted root veges. Mince and baked potatoes. Gf Pasta or rice dishes. This is not a diet that is kind to the waistline, but as I am wearing what amounts to a silk muu-muu most days anyway it’s a win win!

Speaking of food, I have been better at being sugar free for the latter part of this week. I had a splitting headache on Thursday to show for it which was to be expected but still sucked. And I have been trolling through old recipes.

Here is my favourite cold-weather breakfast, Brown rice porridge;

  • One cup brown rice
  • 400mls full cream coconut milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tblsp brown sugar or coconut sugar
  1. Cook the rice using the absorption method – bring to the boil in three cups of water, turn down and simmer for about 15 minutes or until most of the water has gone.
  2. Add the coconut milk, sugar and cinnamon and simmer for another 1o minutes

Store in the fridge in a plastic container, this will yield about 6 servings. The sugar doesn’t bother me because I figure it’s such a minimal amount when split 6 ways. I eat it heated up with a banana cut up on it or frozen berries (low fructose) to add some fruit. This brekkie keeps me full until lunchtime! Yum!

Selfie with the giant Tortoise at the Zoo
Selfie with the giant Tortoise at the Zoo

Day 75 – Bootcamp bitches ain’t nothing to fuck with

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Yeah boyeee. I’m old(ish) and using Wutang references. That’s just how I roll. But it’s ok because we all went out in the cyclone this morning and boxed our asses off before the sun came up. We are hard core y’all. Sure, it wasn’t very cyclone-y. More like Damp and Humid with a wee bit of wind. But add boxing to the mix and you’ve got some hot sweaty ladies. We just needed the rocky sound track to top it off ha ha. Have you boxed? It is seriously fun. I highly recommend it – there is something very cathartic about beating something up. I will take boxing over Yoga any day. Sorry Adrenal glands – I like it hard and fast ha ha

AND Guess what?!? The I Quit Sugar program includes Dark Chocolate this week! Oh my goodness. It is meant to be an ingredient in a recipe for ‘sort of cherry ripe bites’ (the sort of is because you use raspberry instead of cherries) but I confess I have cracked the pack already. Nice and easy grrl. There needs to be some left for the actual baking.

Auckland seems to have gotten away with much less damage than predicted from Cyclone Pam thank goodness. There were some homes without power and I have def seen trees down and other minor damage in my travels, but nothing compared to the devastation caused in Vanuatu for the people there. My thoughts are with the folks there who have lost family and friends and I will be looking for a way to send some sort of practical help to them over the next few days.

Peace out yo.

Day 74 – preparation or bust

I am determined not to be caught short this week for food, so I spent this evening – until well after my bedtime prepping. I now have homemade capsicum and eggplant chutney, falafels, chicken poppers and boiled eggs all in the fridge waiting to be sorted in to lunchboxes for me and the fam. No fruit this week, just back to basics with cooked veges, meat and green tea. Green (vege only) smoothies for brekkies and homemade chicken stock in our cooking. Got to get back on an even keel if I am to beat this slump. I may even make bliss balls if I have the energy after school tomorrow – in between the exhaustion I am feeling inspired!

Now I must sleep. Monday (and cyclone Pam) awaits!

Day 70 – a cry for help

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Last night I ate so much fruit that I was in agony. I had told myself that buying nectarines and plums on the way home was better than buying chocolate or wine – which was what I wanted – and that I was doing myself a favour. I purposefully ignored the high fructose factor because I was feeling sorry for myself and feeling like I was missing out. I was tired and needed something to energise me. I told myself that actually, I have been not eating certain things for so long that my gut is probs sweet bro, eat away, you’ll be fine. I am very easily persuaded. And I am also very convincing. It’s a terrible combination.

Within half an hour I looked 7 months pregnant under my dress, I had to go lie down because I was hurting so bad and I was worried that I had actually done permanent damage.

All because my immune system can’t recognise food for what it is and attacks things randomly causing me pain and discomfort. Because my gut lining is so damaged from years of gluten exposure that even though I had my diagnosis of CD and went GF two years ago it might as well have been yesterday for all that it has healed. And because I knew all of this and still put something inside me that was potentially going to do me damage.

I beat myself up all night about it and then went out in a panic to find lunch today in my thirty minute break and bought more fruit. What the ACTUAL fuck man. The definition of insanity is repeating the same mistake twice and expecting different results. I am doing this to myself. Compulsively.

I need to stop eating fruit and start having a lie down. I need to take a year off work and travel around the hot places of the world, not eating fruit, taking photographs and somehow being paid for it. I need the grumpy Dutchman to stage an intervention and take all of the fruit out of the house. I need to stop eating in the car. I need to figure out how to get my kids to stay in their own beds for the whole night. I need to figure out how to jam three more hours in my day – preferably between classes – so I can do some actual Deaning while I am at school and not try to fit it in around the edges. I need.

I need.

I need WINE.

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Day 63 – family friendly

Today I left work at lunchtime and went and surprised Master 7 in the playground; he was lying on the dirt, playing ‘drifting’ with his cars and best friend. The plan was to head up the hill to be with the fam because my Mum is having a hard time with the grandies and the lad is a nice distraction, but events and timing conspired against us and we ended up just hanging in town just the two of us. It was really nice. There is definitely something cool about playing hooky with your oldest child and just cruising around. We went to the library, did a few errands and did a little ‘lad’ shopping (cars, Tee-shirts with skulls on them and TWO ice-creams).

We are very slowly getting through the cleaning-up-before-the-inlaws-come-and-stay clean. The GD is vacuuming as I type and I finally managed to fold the washing on the laundry couch tonight! I had to do it in two lots and break to make dinner in between – very domestic and totes boring. Interestingly, while I was sorting it in to four piles, I found heaps of knickers for me and master 4, a few pairs for the GD (I don’t want to know) and none whatsoever for Master 7 – bearing in mind that this is weeks of washing. Upon questioning he admitted that although I throw clean underwear at him in the mornings he ‘stuffs them behind the couch and wears the ones I already have on’. Weeks of washing mind you.

Master 7 has been complaining about sandwiches lately, and not eating them for his lunch so we are trying out new things. Today he had 2 cold sausages, a muesli bar, popcorn, chopped up carrot with peanut butter to dip, apple cut up and some crackers. Not the most nutritional but all finger food for him.  He does like sushi, so tonight while I was making dinner I roasted a chicken breast and made two chicken and carrot sushi rolls. I don’t chop them because it’s easier to eat them as a roll. So easy to do and one of those ‘handy hints’ I got off a ‘busy mum is amazing and even makes her own fucking almond milk’ websites, you know the sort of thing ‘while I’m milking the goat and waiting for my kombucha to ferment, I like to use my downtime/free hand to make a healthy and nutritious dinner from scratch, and cook sushi rice at the same time’.

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In other news I bought matching ‘UNT’ mugs for me and one of my grrls this afternoon. The handle makes them funny. Go on… you can work it out 😉

Day 60 – Another month, another day

Master 4 wants a glass of milk to have with his dinner. We are all refusing to get him one because I want him to finish his dinner first. So, of course, being 4, he goes to get his own. He comes back triumphant, glass of milk held high and proud.

Did you shut the fridge? nods.

Did you put the milk back first? nods.

Did you spill the milk? nods.

Did you clean it up? Shakes his head.

Well – go and clean it up then! He shuffles off drinking his milk. He shuffles back in moments later, trailing a towel and crying into his milk. What happened? He walked in to the door frame. And hit his head. It’s been one of those days.

We laughed. Because we are assholes.

The GD has a hangover. Quite a significant one. I didn’t know where he was until he knew where he was, and that wasn’t until 9am this morning  – and by that time I was mad. I’m all for celebrating your friends lifetime commitment to each-other with a good party but when you have a (sleeping, sexy, patient – but don’t rile her) wife and home and no kids you should be getting back to her for alone time, breakfast and stuff, you know what I mean… Before the kids get home.

As it was I spent the night in a fur-child sandwich.  I slept with the dutiful dog on one side and Molly Motorhead purring away at top volume on the other. (Don’t worry – I stripped the bed this morning – and I’d like to add that the dog is almost never allowed on the bed, only on change-the-sheets-day really). They couldn’t believe their luck! Normally the bed is too full of children.

The kids spent the night with their Oma and Opa and had a blast, as you do with your grandies. They came back exhausted and touchy, as you do when you have that much fun. And they made this clear to us on the motorway, stuck in traffic, at the top of their lungs.

You know the refrain; He’s LOOKING at me! He hit me! Because he was LOOKING at me! He’s looking out MY WINDOW! MUM HE’S LOOKING OUT MY WINDOW! The GD had hit the wall of course – this happened when we were visiting my Nana at the nursing home and I turned to see him in the foetal position on the floor. Which left me to deal with the carnage in the back seat. I turned the stereo up so I couldn’t hear them and lowered my foot. WE ARE NOT GOING TO THE BEACH NOW! I may have shouted at some point. STOP LOOKING AT YOUR FUCKING BROTHER! may also have come out of my mouth – but I will deny it if anyone asks. It’s a shame it’s illegal to drink wine while you drive. I think that there’s an argument for it. Maybe a special permit for mothers?

And then all of a sudden I found my zen; and the constant repetition of complaint and outrage in the back seat simply became another pattern in the white noise that was The Muttonbirds top volume and the GD snoring next to me.

Once home I made a delicious ‘summer chicken casserole’ and kumara mash for dinner care of IQS, and got prepped for the week. Now I am writing this and ignoring my children ‘playing trivial pursuit’ in front of me – Mostly this consists of Master 7 reading an answer of the back of the card and directing the nearest adult to read the question to him so he can be right, while Master 4 picks up all the of the cards and drops them in a dramatic heap on the ground. Over and Over again.

Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.

I am tired, but tired happy. I got to go out TWICE this weekend and spent time with lovely friends and family. The grumpy Dutchman just took the rubbish out and declared dinner delicious so I might consider forgiving him for leaving me to ‘eat breakfast’ alone. Everything is how it should be – even the lads, if they weren’t trying to kill each other they wouldn’t be my lads.

Day 60 already. Only 305 to go.

Day 57 – new books in the mail!

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My GAPS book arrived and my bedside ‘library’ is getting full! I need to get started on this lot quick smart. I am feeling in the need for some focus so I think I will start with the GAPS book, gut healing and psychology stuff, notice I got a GAPS cookbook to go with it? Always be prepared – like a good girl guide.

This week has felt long and there is still one day to go. I was still feeling the effects of being glutened today so my brain is foggy as and my body is still slow and achey. The mid-term blues are kicking in for my girls – the wonders of the fresh start and the new term are wearing off and I spent a lot of time doling out hugs and tissues today. My office mate has a theory that they the whole school ‘syncs up’ and they all get PMS-y at the same time. Cadbury should just bulk deliver at this time. They would make a fucking killing.

It’s been the kind of day where you just want to come home and curl up with a glass of wine and some ‘alone time’. I was gifted a Whittakers %70 dark and a coke zero today. It took every ounce of my willpower to not eat them right there and then and I am pleased to say that they are still in my office fridge – I am hoping I can re-gift them without offense. What has the world come to when I am giving away chocolate? It’s unnatural.

It is getting tougher to not just go for comfort food though. Harder to resist just one small flat white when I am shattered in the morning. I am so tired that I want to use food to prop me up but I know that it is mostly from being glutened and getting used to the term being full swing again. So SLEEP is in order. And finding some time to read and get my ass educated about GAPS.

So what I need is time then. Ha! Tell ‘er she’s dreamin.

Day 55 – Gluten free fad-ness is killing me

Artist - Alexandra Berger
Artist – Alexandra Berger

Ranting out loud (in my head) at my computer. Or rather – people on the interwebs. I follow the Coeliac disease NZ page and a couple of others, and mostly they are great places to get advice, commiserate and get good safe restaurant recommendations. BUT it amazes me how often people ask for help or advice and then get mad because you are not telling them that actually it would be fine to have just one pie a day because that much gluten can’t hurt can it? If you have coeliac disease it will hurt you. Or when you suggest that making food themselves from yummy ingredients would be easier than surviving on GF cake from cafes – that is probably contaminated anyway by the way. Bitch got mad at me because I suggested she cooks! I don’t know her life but I do know that boiling an egg isn’t rocket science. I only had to ring my mum the first 3 maybe 4 times the first time I did it? and now I’m practically an expert. So there.

Or – and this is really annoying – when someone finds out I am gluten-free from the coeliacs and then they say ‘I don’t eat gluten either – I am trying to lose weight’. REALLY?! ARE YOU TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT ARE YOU?!

I am all for not eating stuff that makes you feel like shite. Have you seen my list of no-gos ffs? And I have every respect for those folks that are doing what they can to feel the best they can feel. BUT don’t go gluten-free ‘for your weight’ and then eat all the packaged, sugar-free, chemical shit storm gluten-free food in the stupidmarket and then complain about getting fat. Processed food is processed food. When they take out the gluten they add sugar and salt and other ‘filler’s to make it taste ‘normal’ Don’t be fooled dude.

Especially don’t come to a work function and hoover up all the gluten-free food that they thoughtfully got in – leaving none for the real foodtards, and then go over to the ‘normals’ food and just have one because it ‘won’t hurt’. Because it won’t hurt you. And you ate all my fucking grapes and now I hate you.

Shall I tell you what I have learned about cafes and restaurant gluten free-ness? I have learned that even if the food has gluten-free ingredients, if it is cooked on the same tray as gluteny food it will be contaminated. If it is stored in the same display as the other food it is likely to be contaminated. (It can be okay if they store it at the top so nothing can drop crumbs on it). If they don’t have gluten-free specific tongs, the food is contaminated. If they don’t have gluten-free cutting boards or utensils out the back then the food is likely to be contaminated. Even if you order gluten-free toast; if they cook it in the same toaster it is definitely contaminated.

I have learned that if you ask these questions cafe staff quickly become sick of you and either a. lie to shut you up or b. make it clear they want you to fuck off. And that’s fair enough really. They can only go so far to accommodate. I have learned that it is easier to not eat out very often.

And although I think that the ‘trend’ towards gluten-free eating has meant that there are heaps of yummy things on the market now that are safe for me to eat and although I agree to some extent that coeliacs ‘should be grateful’ that there are more options out there for us, I am conscious that every time I say that I need to have gluten-free food I cringe a little in case someone thinks this is my ‘lifestyle choice’. It would be amazing to get up tomorrow and be able to eat anything I like.

I am not an angel. I know that if I could – and knew it wouldn’t hurt me – I would eat pretty randomly. It takes a lot of organisation and effort to be able to eat at every meal, to be prepared for each day – and I am not too often – and to make sure that I am getting everything I need from my food. It is tiring when the rest of life is demanding attention too. I guess that’s why I get so irritated with the foodie fads.

I ALSO KNOW HOW ANNOYING IT IS TO HANG OUT WITH ME. My very thoughtful friends and family go to great lengths to make me food or treats and they are so disappointed when I can’t eat them because of some shit. I’m sorry.

GF for life bitches.

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