Category: health

Your gift is your poison - Anarchist Kitchen Blog

I think it was 1999 or 2000 when I came home from alternative school, turned on Oprah and heard something she said that really struck me.

Oh my god, whenever I’m texting my younger sister and start typing the word “oprah” I always hear Mike Myers in my head. “OHHHppraahhha”. Never gets old.

So Oprah had a couple of women on her show to talk about self acceptance. They may have written a book about it, I don’t remember. Oprah posted a photo on the screen from her vogue photo shoot. The picture was from a few years back. In the photo she was thin and beautiful. She said that the criticism she received from those pictures she took extra hard. Those pictures made her feel like an imposture. The guest speakers essentially drew the conclusion that if Oprah didn’t subconsciously agree with the criticism it wouldn’t have stung so deeply. The heart of their message was to acknowledge how you really feel about yourself deep down.

Your gift is your poison - Finger Pointing To The Moon Quote - Anarchist Kitchen Blog


OHHHppraahhha paused and rephrased what the women were saying. If someone hurts your feelings and you spend all your time focusing on who said what then you’re distracted by focusing on them. They are the finger pointing at the moon.

Your gift is your poison - Finger Pointing To The Moon Quote - Anarchist Kitchen Blog

So 15 years later brings us to 2015. I wrote about that year calling it The Year of Death & Taxes. As mentioned there I ended a friendship which is a huge waving flag that something had changed in me.

The day the cord had been severed my head was spinning. Should I tell her why I’m abruptly ending all communication? The catalyst was some bullshit she said in passing while talking on the phone that day and it lit a fuse. We can not be friends anymore my mind announced but I didn’t say it to her.

A huge amount of the decision had nothing to do with her per se. It became super clear that I was the jackass over extending my energy while engaging with her. I’d drain my battery thinking about shit she’d say & do trying to make sense of it. She’d tell me a story and draw rock solid conclusions. This is what it all meant, every store had a concise conclusion. I’m not kidding, rock fucking solid. She’s incredibly descriptive…. but then parts of the conversation would bubble up in my mind later that day. I’d reexamine all of the details and come to wildly different conclusion. I’m talking the logic would be different, the moral stance would be different, who the true victim or victor was would be as different, on and on. Light years different. Every time. And because all of her stories had a strong sense of struggle there’s really no place to jump in and tell the victim who struggles to overcome adversity that maybe they were never a victim in that situation in the first place. But why risk hearing the words “victim blaming” being pointed at me when I’d hear those were so easily coming out of her mouth to point them to others. In the end we just thinks differently. And the silly part was that I LOVED hearing her stories. I learned major life lessons from the things she talked about. Her stories were so descriptive that it was like reading an imaginative novel with quirky characters and epic amounts of wit! Always laughs to be had and wisdom to gleam.

But when it come time to bring this to an end I really struggled with whether I should say, “I don’t want to be friends any more” because that is an opening line which leads to picking apart someone’s short comings. All they have to ask is “why?” and it’s all over.

For days I imagined starting that conversation with her. Every time I’d think of a way to point out something I would imagine her feeling deeply hurt. Essentially she told me a million secret over the course of 3 years or so and by no means was I thinking of bringing up anything on that level. It’s just to say, if you tell me all of your secrets then I have a very good idea of what hurts your feelings and I do not want to do that at all. Knowing her sensitive areas meant I couldn’t be impartial. “I’m a computer. I just ran a report. Here, go work on this” Ah, no. I’m going to error on the side of caution and not act like I’m just giving you data or “FACTS” as the kids arrogantly say on facebook.

Plus I asked a friend of mine who I think is super fucking perceptive to the trappings of human relationships. She told me an allegory of living in your own backyard. If you’re living in someone else’s then who’s living in yours?

Your gift is your poison - Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about - Anarchist Kitchen Blog

All I could think was, “If she’s just going to misunderstand me AND feel hurt then I what’s the point”.

When I later came cross this quote “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about”. It pointed exactly to a feeling I couldn’t quite put my finger on. And this is why you stay in your own backyard regarding unsolicited advice. She’s busy working on her own shit. Everyone is trying their best.

I committed to silence. I wasn’t going to talk about her, think about her or see what she was doing on the sly through social media. Internal silence didn’t happen immediately because I was still trying to process all of the mixed emotions I had about the situation. When the momentum was winding down it struck me! Really, whatever negative thing I had to say about her was actually intertwined with all of her strengths. The more I thought about it it started to seem universal. If I say some mean shit (even with good intention) I’m crapping all over the things she should be proud of. Criticizing her really wouldn’t make sense.

I reflected on shitty criticism of me. Instead of staring into the abyss of “I’m found out. Yes, I am still working on that. Why can’t I stop doing that.” then taking the baton to go even further into how this negative behavior is somehow a reflection of my damaged self I decided to turn around. Could there possibly be a fundamental strength to any of these criticism? Clearly by the title of this post you can see that I did found diamonds in the rough.

Your gift is your poison - Anarchist Kitchen Blog

Things are very much a matter of perspective to varying degrees. Just spewing negativity, only seeing what annoys you and obsessively focusing on the shit that stinks is compulsive behavior. How often you see something is NOT an indicator of how accurately you’re perceiving it. I’ve kind of touched on this in my post You ain’t a hypocrite You’re cognitively dissonant. I’m talking about tunnel vision people. Seeing my weakness as the parts of myself that I need to ignore, change or remove might be living in a tunnel.

I love reading books and listening to stories about strategy, habits and behavior. Our quality of life is the expression to our inner world (to a certain degree). I heard this quote which I can’t remember for shit so it will only come out as cliche but this post already has plenty of that so away we go! The people who master their genius are the ones who embrace their madness.

Maybe the old me would have interpreted that to mean embrace for the sake of manipulating and change. Hold to handle & to manage. But current me is hearing embrace as intertwine & cradle. Like the very thing you think is harming you could being your saving fucking grace. Minus crack cocaine.

There's a crack in everything That's how the light gets in - Anarchist Kitchen Blog

I’ve been wanting to write about this for the last couple of years but I’m glad I didn’t. At some point last year I heard this podcast and it completely blew me away. I am amused easily. According to her tendency grouping there’s 4 ways people deal with expectations.

four tendencies four interlocking circles - Anarchist Kitchen Blog After hearing her talk about it on the podcast mentioned above I dug through her own podcast to hear about each of these in more details. Here’s a pretty good overview on the 4 ways people function and the pros & cons to each. I completely nerd out to this.

Her specific way to talking about it exemplified the idea that your gifts are your poison.

I’m an upholder so my strengths are that I’m self directed & take direction from others. You need something, I gottachyyyou! I want to starts some shit? We’ll sit back because I’m all over this. Don’t need someone to remind me to count my calories or upload another video to youtube. I direct myself. Those are major strength but for a very long time I couldn’t figure out why I am so rigid. For years I felt secretly ashamed that I was so into health and that I took it so seriously. Being rigid is complete fodder for second guessing myself. I remember being really into raw food and wondering “Why do I care so much about this?! No one else cares.” I think that’s the main reason why I admire people who couldn’t care less about shit I care about. It’s like “wow, that person is intrinsically more flexible about these subjects than I am.” I can’t help but admire that.

Even though upholders and rebels are kind of on the fringe I do think a lot of my friends are rebels. I wasn’t until I listened to her take on this personality trait did I see that I was judging you guys all wrong. It’s easy to see someone else’s poison but that poison is truly the yoke holding their genius to their body. The majority of folks are obligers & questions. They’re all good and bad. Everyone’s gifts somehow are breaking their own balls.


There’s been generous amounts of “flow” this year, things have been coming together, unfolding…. and the synchronicity! Crazy amounts of the standard 11:11, magical, only-I-would-get-it type of bullshit going on around the clock. 2015 is worth talking about… but not too much.

Dude, the level poverty that we were thriving at in 2014 is award winning. No one wiped our asses, no one housed or fed us… well, we did have food stamps for about 2 weeks but overall there was no Uncle Sam’s credit card involved.  But hey, I’m not shaming your game.

When I was a youth of America I read Evasion (3 times), crimethic, anarchist, anti-$, vegan propaganda. My ego desperately believed that I could one day live without all the bullshit; no forced job, no elusive money, none of the man’s system. Sure it’s all gray area but I was young and my heart understood what my head was vaguely thinking. Looking back I think the indirect goal was to live with no strings attached unless they were in my favor 😉

So for many years I clung to this mindset. I didn’t question my own assumptions. But even worse I didn’t consider it valid that these beautiful and pure thoughts of mine would denature after sitting in my mind for more than minute & in morph into toxin death. I think the process was THINK ABOUT SHITTY THINGS IN THE WORLD & ALL OF THE ASSHOLES WHO DON’T CARE—> then randomly feel depressed and suicidal for reasons that I do not know. The days of idealism were pretty awful. Why won’t everyone stop killing animals and using oil and supporting war?! Ha!

The first big shift was when I discovered 25 (and counting) major myths to veganism and had to jump ship to that decade of false assumptions (I love you, Vegan Friends, don’t read into that last sentence!). The second major shift was when we saved $24,000 in 18 months while working bullshit jobs to buy our Tiny House & Land. The plan was to cut the strings and learn to fly on the way down. By the time we saved our first $8,000 I was in living in two worlds. For the first time I had money (which in theory was bad) while working towards “freedom” (which in theory is good). Having money didn’t change me, it made it even more clear that I had no idea of where this “me” even was.  I know I’m not my clothes & car, duh. I would think I’m my thoughts & values but when I meditate or create a space between “me” and my thoughts it doesn’t seem like I’m really there either.

Moving to the land pretty much broke me as a person for reasons that have little to do with the land. When we sold the land I wiped the slate clean, for better or worse. I would rebuild my values and priorities from the ground up. I would move slowly through life in order to feel instead of think. This was the year of anti-logic in a sense. Shit got real, shit got extreme. For months we were eating on $1-$2 a day. Then we mastered the ropes of dumpster diving with the help of the diving community and lived 100% off of trash for 9 months straight. Zero $ for food. 2014 I think we earned $800 a month! We’d be rich if we were homeless but we had an apartment, phone bill, internet bill, electric bill, washing clothes, buying toilet paper. We weren’t living on the streets and we weren’t burdens to our family or the state so our asses very carefully got by. Because we lived so low key and just took what the trash would give us I had never felt so relaxed in my life. I was not stressed at all, I was rolling with the punches and that felt amazing.

But when the 2015 New Year was on the horizon I had a moment of clarity. I recalled that I had a brief run in with magical thinking  right before I met Mark. While magical thinking had delivered on some pretty big requests it had also distorted my ability to not act like a total avant garde douche bag. I also thought about my attraction to “Doing More With Less”. I let all of these things sit in my mind and came to the conclusion that I could use focus (aka magical thinking) to simply intended for more money. That my love for “do more with less” has morphed into “I need to have less to do more”. My ego needed to be put it check. Being proud of doing more with less is a great when it’s your first day on the playground but I’m trusting that the skill is there, no need to keep sharping the sword. Time to grow up! And dream big! I’m wishing for 2015 as the year of $$$.

New Year’s Eve 2015: Mark is with his friends and I’m alone having the world’s biggest pity party. I fall asleep that night and have the most suggestive dream ever. DREAM: I’m in a situation where a stranger is complaining about a valid mistake I’ve made. It never crosses my mind to advocate my intention. Instead I completely sympathy with the offended , I am the world’s biggest piece of shit. I’m a fraud and the person berating me knows it. I feel like I want to give that person the world, I want them to know that I never meant to offend them so badly. I want to make up for my mistake X 100. Then someone else shows up and tells me that a $10 item I sold them was damaged. My feelings are amplified, I give them way more money than the item is worth, I’m throwing the money at them before they even ask for it. I’m overextending myself. My stress builds to the edge of a melt down and a large group of guys are now surrounding me. They have guns and my nerves can’t take the pressure any more so I yell, “Shoot me” and so they do. The gun goes off and I’m hit in the mouth. The moment it hits me I feel knocked back into reality and completely regret what I said. I didn’t really mean to say “shoot me” I just couldn’t handle the feelings anymore… but I got what I asked for. I’m in shock, I bleed out and die. Moments later I’m barreling through a black tunnel at the speed of light til dropped back into my body. To that I wake up. Something inside of me feels dead. The part of me that wants to overextend myself no longer gives a fuck. Things come up in the coming weeks and I don’t have to rationalize what it means to me, I simply couldn’t care less. I feel out of my nature and the lack of identity feels good.

With that dream 2015 is off to an interest start. I figured I would simply focus, I’d hold the thought of us having money & freedom and let the magic run it’s course. A series of small light bulbs went off in my head, complete elementary stuff on how to improve our ebay business. At the end of 2014 I walked away from dumpster diving, it was too much of my focus and identity. I could tell I needed to shift gears. That’s where food stamps made it’s brief entrance. At the time we had over 800 listings up on ebay, all stuff from the trash. Up until that point I was simply rolling with the punch, taking what the trash would give us to sell. It had gotten us by for 18 months but the light bulbs going off reveled that we could be more strategic with our business. Quitting dumpster diving was essential. Following each small light bulb step quickly lead me to taking down about 500 listings. Right when we were approved for food stamps I got word of CD Source needing temporary employees to help the permanent closing of their store. Mark started working there and our food stamps were instantly cut off, Uncle Sam’s food credit card lasted 2 weeks. The closing of the cd store took longer than expected so for months we had real income (think minimum wage-ish). Since we had mastered poverty Mark gave me full reign to take his earning and invest them into our new ebay business model. I had boxed up 500 items in at the end of January and had about 2 weeks of trying out our new business plan when the results started to come in. It was shocking. For that last 18 months we gross about $800 month with 800 listings. When we reworked our business we sold $800 our first week with a little over 300 listings. Magical thinking, game on.

When Mark’s temporary job was coming to it’s end I parted ways with my year long part time ice cream shop job. (thanks Carnival Barker!) It really seemed that Mark and I could make better money and have a more flexible lifestyle if we kept our focus on ebay. Money & freedom, that’s the plan. More money, more taxes.

We finally started making enough money to no longer need our roommate. The boxes of ebay stuff sat in messy piles for months. The first weekend that the weather was nice we dragged everything out to the lawn and set up shop. The whole morning I was obsessing on my high school best friend, Heather. Heather’s mom was the most ghetto person I’ve ever personally known. She would steal from other people’s garage sales to sell shit at her garage sale. I thought about Heather and her mom all morning while setting up our garage sale. Actually, Heather had been on my mind a lot for the last 18 months. Right before we left our land I got in touch with Heather and told her that I really wanted to write about her crazy life. When I was 14 years old I felt really attached to Heather. I’ve always had best friends but this feeling of friendship felt different. And as the saying goes, “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long”. Within 2 years of us being friends I really felt we were going in two different directions in life while my previous best friends I could still connect with. Even though we saw each other sparingly after that I didn’t even consider removing my loyalty for Heather out of my head. I loved Heather. That morning of our garage sale Heather was front and center on my mind. Sitting at our table of junk I got a call, Heather had been murdered. She left 5 kids behind. Then it seemed really clear why I had such an urgent need to see her those last 18 months even thought it had been 15 years since we were really close. My worry for her kids had me in a tailspin for months. Thank god for the kid’s father, he’s truly the world’s number 1 dad. If I had a million dollar I would give it to Julio.

Heather dies and I’m at a loss. Before her funeral arrangements are made Mark’s Grandmother dies. Now there will be a Two Funeral Friday. Marks grandmother in the morning and Heather’s that same evening. Seeing someone’s young kids stand next to their young dead mother at the funeral was completely awful. In the back of my head I remember that a few months before hand I had gotten together with Heather and we recorded a couple hours of her telling me her life story. We get home from the day of funerals and I bury myself in the pile of blankets that is my bed. I start crying really fucking hard because I miss Heather and because I just realized why, in part, I’ve loved her so much. Heather was one of the few people who would chat with me, really let me ask her a million questions about her life while giving me very particular body language and posture that my subconscious took as a sign of her really listening to me. At 14 I felt heard by Heather in a way that pretty much felt like love to my little teen soul. Does that sound crazy that I took something so subjective as posture and put some much into it? When it clicked I was almost taken aback. So chit chat & feeling heard are the corner stones to my loyalty!? Okay, duly noted.

Shortly after Heather dies I end a friendship with a chick who viewed me as her BFF. After a gut wrenching conversation of her white self telling me about awful white privilege I was deeply annoyed for days. While that talk was one of the last straws it had zero in common with the other straws that had slowly been breaking my back during our friendship. Why would some lame conversation, shit that I used to believe, get under my skin so much? It’s really tricky. She’s the wittiest, funniest, most entertaining & talented person on the face of the planet. I think I’ve learned more about everything, including myself, from being friends with her…. but shit just wasn’t right. I think it was 2014 when I interview my friend Jess (Jess is not the BFF I’m referring to) after she got back from being a train tramp. The audio “13: LIVING AUTHENTICALLY & GENUINELY: how to disappoint and empower loved one”  is about Energy vs Form. If I had ever come across that concept before then it must have gone in one ear and out the other. The things Jess said felt like she was talking directly to me. For so long I had assigned people, places, things and foods very black and white meaning and written off the more subtle feelings. Jess talked about the obvious positive or negative attributes to people or situation so you’d feel foolish to not act logically but logic can mask the energy and energy matters. She talked a lot about those dynamics in respect to Her Husband vs Her Boyfriend, husband sounds right but boyfriend feels right. It’s tricky. I really encourage everyone to go to CakeorDeathRadio and find that interview (my sister Bonnie’s Autism interview is on there too). So some petty shit was under my skin, I feel like I seldom even notice petty shit but something was going on. I mentally suspended the loyalty and admiration that I had for my friend. I needed to objectively figure out what was going on and not take her explanation of shit into account. What does it all mean to me? I was putting up some serious mental wall, it was pure dogma. I really didn’t want to think about what my problems with her might be but the irritated feelings didn’t go away. After many long bike rides I remembered shit she’s said & how she treats people, mostly men, and I simply asked myself how I felt about her behavior. The truth was I felt like she was endless disrespectful. Owning up to that was liberating. I hadn’t considered those feeling before because she justifies her life much differently than I do. But I’ve been way overextending myself for years trying to make sense of her and her ways. So it turned out to have actually have nothing to do with that stupid conversation, it was the canary in the coal mine giving me a heads up, it’s time for shit to go down. I keep friends for life… so 2015 was a risky year.

Half way through the year it becomes clear to me that I was baiting certain people into being my friend and talking with me on facebook. If they post some lame shit and I know it’s the only subject they want to talk about I’d engage them. You only want to talk about fruit then I’ll talk about fruit with you…now you’re suppose to like me! No, it’s not that I actually think anyone should be talking about fruit but you’re putting it out there; your approval depends on fruit. So I chose to play along. She’s a person I wanted acceptance and approval from for a while, I’ll admit it. It’s pathetic but until I became aware the game I was playing it wasn’t resolving itself. How did I resolve that? I acknowledge that I was needing acceptance and approval and it was going to have to come from myself. Corny but true. I ended that fake friendship, I’m sure that chick feels as much relief about that as I do. It was long over due and I feel bad about pestering her for so long. But I’m feeling fine a million times better now.

Shortly after that another friend I’ve been good with for 15 years started posting shit on facebook that I got really butt hurt about. The shit he was saying wasn’t anything I hadn’t thought about a million times before but if you know I eat meat, you know I’m married and you know I’m on your friends list then when you post anti-marriage and anti-meat shit I want to know how much you’re thinking of me when you’re clicking “post”. I’ve posted passive aggressive shit in the past when I didn’t respect some  folks that I had grown apart from and I secretly wanted them to see certain posts. I know what’s up. It’s so embarrassing that I would post shit targeting to my friends. If I don’t like them then I need to move on or grow the hell up. I wouldn’t say that bridge is burned because I like this guy a whole lot and internet personalities are the WORSE way to draw conclusions on people. So what I took from my fake-friendship-trolling and getting butt hurt about bad science memes on facebook was that I was OVEREXTENDING my energy. It was total epiphanic (real word). The thought started like this: If I took all of the energy I put into trying to be friends with people I want to understand me, trying to understand the rationale of people who do fucked up shit with a straight face, getting butt hurt over opinions & ignorance AND INSTEAD put it into starting a business, writing a play, working on ebay, building a ship in a bottle, sewing myself a new wardrobe, learning underwater basket weaving, etc THEN I’d be rich and have something to show for myself…maybe self mastery or inner peace. Who fucking knows because I’m too busy playing on facebook all day while feeling lonely. <— No more of that, no thank you.

After that I vowed to avoid facebook feed. I log in, post my latest recipe video & picture on my Rich Bitch Cooking facebook page, engage strictly with message and the funny shit my younger sister tags me in to check out *then* get the hell out. I will engage with people, so feel free to message me, but not the feed that’s just posted out there so anonymously. Oh, you saw that? And that hurt your feelings? No my problem. <— I’m not going to thicken my skin, I’m going to refocus my priorities. 99% of posts are not so dramatic but one bad post is too much. The new priorities became lots of reading. Man, I guess I hadn’t  really gotten lost in a good book. For too many years I’d only read health & diet books so when I got over “clean eating” I pretty much stopped reading all together. But when I get over facebook I found reading to be a really fulfilling thing. I’m picky but a really good novel or biography, man, I’ll read 6 hours every night. 2015 has been my absolute least social year and by far the least lonely. Yay! Plus I started journaling and doing yoga and shit! I was feeling on point.

So 2015 has been on the up and up. Regardless of the form the energy has been perfect…. so I hate to end this yearly reflection with this story.

December 9th I awoke to my phone ringing at 7am. I never get calls that early, I seldom hear the phone ringing at that hour because I’m asleep. It says my older sister Bonnie’s name so  I pick up. Thank god I pick up. It’s my oldest nephew Jerzy. He’s never called me before so I’m thrown completely off guard. He says something but I have no idea what he said. I said, “wait, what?” then in the exact calm tone he repeats precisely what I just told me, “I found my mom stiff on the floor, she’s ice cold, her lips are blue. I tried to feel for a pulse but couldn’t feel anything.” It felt like my heart completely exploded. “Are you serious?” My body knew it was true and started shaking uncontrollably before I even finished the sentence. He said, “yes., I found her….” then repeated to me again everything he told me 2 times before. “Did you call 911?” “I don’t know how, can you help me?” “Hang on, let me get a piece of paper” Mark jumps out of bed beside me, runs to the other room and grabs a pen. He tells me his apartment address and I tell him that I’m heading over from the city to the suburbs in rush hour traffic but I’ll get there as soon as I can. I call 911 and they transfer me to the 911 in city. I tell them that I think my sister is dead and that it’s likely her 3 special needs kids are there alone.

We jump in the car. My mind is calm but my body can’t stop shaking. 10 minutes into the drive it dawns on me that I have to call my mom. I can’t just shown up on her door step with Bonnie’s kids and tell her. I need to give her time. I call my mom. She normally picks up with a worried tone but today she sounds more causal. “Yes?” “Mom, I think Bonnie’s died”. She sounds like all of the air had been kicked out of her. “What? Why?” Her voice was so tiny and she sounded so panicked. “I don’t know. Jerzy called and told me that she was ice cold so I called 911…..Ice cold, there’s no way around that, is there?” She quietly said, “I’m going to get off the phone to tell your father.” We wait in traffic and the closer we get to Bonnie’s exit I feel like I’m going to shit myself. I run into a gas station, shaking  but probably looking calm to everyone else. I’m scared to go to her apartment. We pull up and there’s a couple cop cars out front and the front door is open. The second I see the cops I feel so much relief, like I’m not all alone to figure this out. I’m so thankful they were there first. Jerzy walks out to and looks calm. The cops talk to me while Reyna walks in and out of the apartment playing quietly by herself and Xzavion sits outside on a chair near the open front door. He has dried tears down the side of his face but he won’t give me much eye contact. Jerzy keeps repeating to me the details of what he’s saw, his mother  found dead on the floor beside her breathing treatment machine. I want more than anything to not have to picture it but I don’t want to tell him to stop. He was being so calm, I didn’t want to break the spell. Within the first hour of me being there I walked passed the 3 cops standing front of the closed door where my sister lays died on the other side so that I shit my brains out… I do this about ten times. My mind is calm, my body is not okay. I try calling my younger sister, Heather, but she’s a sleep. She calls me back, I tell her what happened but have to get off the phone to talk with another officer. He’s asking me questions that I don’t know the answer to. I offer to call my mom for him so and do so & hand him the phone. The first thing he says to my mom is, “I’m sorry for your loss” then asks her the questions he asked me. Maybe an hour goes by and Bonnie’s husband, Travis, pulls up. Travis went to work that morning at 5 am. He got a call from the police telling him what happened and to come home if able to leave work. Travis later told me that he collapsed on the floor when he got the call. The whole drive home he was sure it was a dream. When he pulls up to Jerzy, Mark and Me outside with cop cars all around he starts crying again. He asks Jerzy where Reyna is and Jerzy explains that he put cartoons on in the back bedroom to keep the 2 younger ones distracted. More time goes by and I’m crawling out of my skin. I just want to take the kids and go to my parents house. I feel so lost. Travis’s brother and sister show up and are hugging Travis and the kids. Travis’s dad and step mother were catching a flight out of Mexico and should be with Travis asap. Then the van pulls up to take Bonnie’s body away. The kids are all outside at this point and Jerzy says, “take the kids so they don’t see this”. I was blown away! “Who are you?!”, I thought. It was like he had matured that day in front of my eyes. It was amazing, I had completely underestimated him.

After that we were free to go. The two little ones rode with us and Jerzy stayed with Travis. 30 minutes from Bonnie’s apartment we were at my mom and dad’s house. My mom played it tough because the kids were there, no tears. Later she told me that she was heartbroken. Shortly after we arrived Travis, his sister and Jerzy are with us at my parents house. I take Jerzy to Mcdonald’s and we buy all the kid’s food. We talk about what the kids are going to do; Jerzy is going to live with his Grandma on his dad’s side. They have a strong relationship and she wants him. Travis calls everyone he has numbers for on Xzavion’s dad’s side and informs them of Bonnie’s passing. Him and Reyna go back to Travis’s uncles house to wait for Travis’s dad. We quickly leave in order to drop Jerzy off with his Grandma on time since they’re having a family birthday party that day. On the hour drive to Jerzy’s grandma’s I want to ask him how he was able to be so calm. Apparently after I called 911 they called him, I gave them the number, and had him push on Bonnie’s chest…I mean, doesn’t that not all sound traumatic? But I was scared to ask so I said, “Hey, how do you think the kids are gonna be?” and he said, “Reyna, I don’t know. Maybe okay. Xzavion, not as good.” He was so matter of fact about it I said, “what about you, how are you handling it so well?” I wanted to cry when I said that. “Well, when 911 called and told me to push on her chest I just thought, now or never.” When we got with his Grandma she talked matter of fact about it and it made me feel less care of “it”. I’m so thankful he has his Grandma Daun.

I got home that evening, posted on facebook about Bonnie’s passing for friends and distant relatives to see then opened my messages to see that Bonnie had written me the day before. She wanted to know when we could get together and work on some projects we’d been talking about. Mark and I had just seen Bonnie that Friday to give her and the kids a ride to the doctor. Then Tueday according to both Travis and Jerzy Bonnie had went to the library, made and ate dinner, horsed around with the family, wrote me on facebook then died before getting the kids up for school. Cause of death was her bronchitis on top of her asthma was too much for her lungs. 2015 I made a first time (and successful) habit of not letting my the wild horse that is my mind steer me down an endless, draining road. I’m not going to think about non-friends, I’d rather build a mental empire. That first night as I laid in bed still shaking in my body I kept picturing Bonnie coughing and sneaking off while her family was asleep to give herself some relief with her breathing machine. I minimum all sickness so this just blows that attitude out of the water. For about 48 hours all thought about taming the wild horse completely slipped my mind.

When Travis’s dad, Terry, got in town he was on top of all of the arrangement. He’d been down this road before. The amount of support we all got from Terry is more than I could ever thank him for. When he was talking about making arrangements for the memorial service I told him that it sounded so sad. And up until that point I felt too scared to go but he pointed to the celebration aspect of it which turned my feeling completely around. Terry has a great way of wording things: cleaver and smart. I really, really appreciate Terry’s point of view. My dad, Travis’s brother, Mark and I got together with Terry the following few days to help empty Bonnie and Travis’s apartment. The drive back to Bonnie’s apartment triggered feelings that my body took as me reliving the morning of her death. Being at Bonnie’s apartment seemed super scary at first. I was having flashbacks to the front bedroom door being closed and her body being right on the other side. When I finally went in that room, stood where she died and next to the breathing treatment machine that was sprawled out on the floor and remembered the moment of clarity I had when we were driving to her that morning. Death is and has the ultimate respect.

Best Family Picture

Bonnie, Xzavion, Reyna, Jerzy – 2011




Cognitive Dissonance (and other logical fallacies) Can Be Sour Grapes – My Story


link to read poster in detail or click on photo twice to enlarge

  • formal fallacy (aka logical fallacies) is a pattern of reasoning which is rendered invalid due to a flaw in its logical structure which can neatly be expressed in standard system of logic. *wiki*

  • cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values. Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals tend to become psychologically uncomfortable and they are motivated to attempt to reduce this dissonance, as well as actively avoiding situations and information which are likely to increase it. *wiki*

    When i was 17 (over 14 years ago) I read Diet For A New American and became vegan. Day one started with me reading information and pretty much every day for 9 years I had a book in my hand and I read everything about veganism, health, and how factory farms destroy our planet. I took it very seriously and personally that my diet had a real impact. I was always hungry & excited for information, even after 9 years so I knew I would be vegan for life because being engaged with the lifestyle was so effortless. The final 2 years of veganism for me were done as a raw foodist. I created 70 *lame* youtube raw recipe videos, helped open a raw cafe and found an entire community of like minded people to be apart of. Everyone was 100% on board with raw food, unschooling and conscious awareness (via thoughts and language). To say I lived and breathed raw veganism would be an understatement, not to mention the 7 years prior to that where I was just vegan. The raw vegan community at the time had a lot more gurus, leaders and  the “look at my body” types than the regular vegan community so when a handful of raw food celebrities were having an event the next state over I had go. My friend Jessica and I drove up to Oklahoma for the event. I knew Jessica from the raw food community, she was a few years older than me and had been into raw food way before I was. On the drive up to the event she played an audio from a multi hour long program by Daniel Vitalis. I was a huge Daniel Vitalis fan from watching his spring water videos  a couple years before that. I assumed he was a raw foodist like me from how his water videos moved through the raw vegan community. The 3 hour drive consisted of him talking about the value of animal foods and the fallacies of veganism (raw and cooked). What he was saying was really hard to hear, it was like some sort of mental, emotional, physical discomfort and I was not at all into it. We get to the event and it was great seeing so many people that I followed online including the raw model who’s blog I followed for years. I didn’t think about the Daniel Vitalis talk after that and it was pretty much was out of sight, out of mind. However I had already committed myself to seeing him live, he was coming to Dallas. I originally assumed it was a pro raw food kind of thing but stuck to my commitment to go once i realized otherwise. I knew my veganism was rock solid and his water videos had a huge impact on me so I couldn’t see any harm in attending the event. Plus so many friends from my community were going that it wasn’t just about seeing Daniel. Long story short his talk blew my vegan mind. He was vegan for something like 15 years (his tale is a pretty standard). It pretty much took someone who had been in my shoes, walking my path to make different sense of my journey.

and there’s where cognitive dissonance start to come in……


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Okay, lets say I have a world of information. My brain for some reason pictures a lime green jello salad. Each little chunk of gross shit inside is a nugget of truth, in and of it self it is what it is. Now the green goo could be the whole of my brain on the microcosm or the universe on the macrocosm. The goo is whatever it is that is holding (not sure that’s the right world) life and consciousness together.

Let say I zero in on one single nugget of information, cauliflower chunk on the left (raw food has lots of enzymes) and another nugget somewhere else (cooked food has less of the same enzymes than before when it was raw) and another nugget (our body uses enzymes). now these pieces of information are always out there in the ether. 99% of people will never zero in on those nuggets but they’re always there. Maybe 1% of people zero in on those nuggets of information and with that volume of information the brain could start to draw conclusion. Here’s what that drawing could look like:


STARS are nuggets of TRUTH. The squiggly line is where    we connect the dots which paints a picture that draws                                             conclusions.

Our brains are fucking complex so there will be a lot of information that it’s taken in and an infinite amount of information that is weeded out. Part of how our brain weeds out the literally infinite amounts of information involves cognitive dissonance. If we have a vested interest due to strong held emotional beliefs/past experience it’s likely our brain will do us a solid and just leave out all of the dots that don’t maintain your already painted pictured (aka conflicting information). I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I see some overlap between what I’m saying in regards to connecting dots and quantum mechanics (which I truly know nothing about outside of cheesy documentaries in my early 20s). Remember this sweet chz ball?

In my head what I’m hearing is that the brain is the map, not the territory. So an infinite amount of stuff is present forever and always, our brain takes in whatever capacity it can handle then starts making sense of it all. The more of “I know it already” you are the more your brain will starting taking completely unrated dots to weave it into the really big elusive story of the mind. Ever meet someone who will take irrelevant pieces of their life and use those piece to exemplify what they already know to be “true”? All extreme people do this (I’m raising my hand, super GUILTY). To that person everything is an example of how men hate women, how The Man is trying to keep us down, how shits gonna collapse, how something back in the day is prophetic, how too little or too much of a particular food is the the cause of X,Y and Z.

There’s more dots out there than we can take in and there’s more that we’ve taken in than we can process. So there’s an infinite number of ways to connect dots and make sense of a given amount of information. I had all of the vegan facts, a large amount of dots were connected which painted a very clear picture of veganism being the one and only way for a healthy planet, for healthy animals and healthy humans. Then I added in more information, the dots stayed in the same place but the connections were radically different. When I look into the world I can not see what I used to see as “the answer”. When I was vegan was I wrong for connecting those dots? No, I don’t think so. Am I right for how I’m connecting dots right now? No, I can’t imagine I’m right either. I’m seeing things how I see them and I’m open to change, what else can I do or expect others to do.

While it was embarrassing being a vegan know-it-all but I think the 4 years I did paleo after veganism seem WAYYYY more embarrassing. When I was Paleo I was listening to Robb Wolf and Daniel Vitalis. I felt niave that I believed veganism was natural because of Weston A Price documentation of traditional people each following their same non-vegetarian diet multi generations deep and all having outward signs of “superior health”.  I don’t know of any historical book that follows tribes of vegans for multi-generations, there was no living and breathing proof but just information and i put a huge amount of myself into it. but now i think paleo is the lamest most gimmicky bullshit ever. i used to have a charge with veganism which i no longer have. no i have a charge with paleo, i hear the word and cringe…. i’m hoping to not give a shit one way or the other.

The time in my life where I felt super solid in my brain I was raw vegan and on another wave length which felt almost like another planet. I felt really different and “the truth” was all super clear, i felt spiritual. That was also a time in my life that i was seeking the most “truth” and leaving very little room for new information. I locked my mental door, didn’t watch movies, listen to music, ate the least amount of food, lived alone and wouldn’t allow more information in (or out). So perhaps I had 1,000 dots to connect instead of 100,000 which created the illusion of clarity.

more dots mean more information and information isn’t good or bad, it’s what’s already there whether or not i was aware of it. I don’t need to be aware of more but its misleading to draw conclusions with limited information. I’ll take what my brain gives me and try to stay open. Truth is no longer my job, I don’t need big meaningful answers/conclusions.

For almost 2 years I’ve been wanting to write about cognitive dissonance. I started to see that as I unwound from my emotional investment with different diet bullshit as well as the radical anti-civilization bullshit that there was a quiet little space where I could observe, connect dots, honor what i’m seeing and not compulsively draw conclusions about how my thoughts and feelings “SHOULD” predict my behavior. Let me give you an example. The day I learned about sweatshops I will never forget. I was vegan for 2 years at the point, almost 20 years old and bought a progressive book from whole foods that talked about everything fucked up. It was a super simple book, I want to say it was almost like a photo book with a paragraph on each page. There was a page about sweatshops, human fucking slaves! I mentioned it to my roommate and he was like, “oh yeah, that’s pretty standard”. My emotional reaction to that was OH MY FUCKING GOD!!! I was poor as shit growing up so I already felt like an outsider to buying new clothes, like I’m not privilege enough to go shopping and everyone can tell. you guys know that feeling right? where you don’t feel entitled to shit and think you stick out like a sore thumb. so I went from thinking that I personally don’t deserve to have nice clothes to the compound feeling of buying sweatshop items is grounds for a panic attack. the level of cognitive dissonance involved to feel like i’m going to have a panic attack because i need to buy some bullshit at walmart was off the fucking chart. 2 years ago when I started making peace with having two conflicting beliefs I felt like i was in my skin for the first time in I don’t know how long. I can hate sweatshops AND buy sweatshop items as needed without all of the drama. The stupid thing is that I would spend all that time in the past making a huge ordeal in my head, “give away all of my power” (not to walmart but let my power drain from my body). it’s stupid because minus all of the emotional turmoil the actions are still the same. On some level I felt that my stress and anxiousness about the situation morally meant something. If i buy walmart products with joy in my heart then i was an asshole. if i felt a soul crushing amount of guilt that would elevate the sin and be proof that i really care.

and I see that line of thinking everywhere. I’m going to tell you why something is fucked up/extreme, then you’re going to prove you get it by saying, “oh my god that’s so fucked up/amazing, blah blah blah, my emotional stability is so out the window because this is fucked/blissed out amazing”. Like when someone tells you about their amazing fantastic religion, political party/candidate, their amazing diet or the truth on factory farms. It’s often seems like my emotional reaction is more important that them simply giving me the information and letting me make an unbiased opinion, the facts aren’t enough. Then when you don’t jump through their hoops they act like you must have not gotten it and want to re explain it. (i’m speaking from experience here, i’m way guilty of that too.) And it’s always the folks who are emotionally invested to a particular belief who want to call folks out as being biased and closed minded. Hilarious, takes one to know one, bro!

Two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, traveling on pilgrimage, came to a muddy river crossing. There they saw a lovely young woman dressed in her kimono and finery, obviously not knowing how to cross the river without ruining her clothes. Without further ado, Tanzan graciously picked her up, held her close to him, and carried her across the muddy river, placing her onto the dry ground. Then he and Ekido continued on their way. Hours later they found themselves at a lodging temple. And here Ekido could no longer restrain himself and gushed forth his complaints: “Surely, it is against the rules, what you did back there…. Touching a woman is simply not allowed…. How could you have done that? … And to have such close contact with her! … This is a violation of all monastic protocol…” Thus he went on with his verbiage. Tanzan listened patiently to the accusations. Finally, during a pause, he said, “Look, I set that girl down back at the crossing. Are you still carrying her?”

Logical fallacies, like cognitive dissonance, are tricks our mind plays on us. Logical fallacies are really misleading. Think two pieces of truth sandwiched around some bullshit, it’s hard to decipher. PETA memes are perfect examples of logical fallacies. They tend to be “this fact + that fact = GO VEGAN!”. Let’s bust out an example: PETA meme: “Not eating a pound of meat saves more water than showering for 6 months” then the caption “animals raised for food produce more than 10 times more the poop and pee as humans do much of which ends up in our water. Go Green/Go Vegan”  The first part is a fact *but* only as far as factory farmed animals are concerned. Using vague words like “meat” as a blanket statement takes something that’s true (excessive amounts of water is being used for factory farming) and distributes that truth onto something inaccurate (meat raised in a polyculture or on pasture doesn’t require excesses amount of water AND the “waste” is now a benefit to the system). The logic conveyed is there’s only one way to raise animals for food (which is a huge fallacy) and that veggie is you’re only solution to their made up problem. Another misleading vegan slogan is “meat rots in your gut”. Everything rots in your gut, it’s what your gut does. Or the billboard with the the pig and puppy that says “why love one and eat the other” the fallacy is that you can’t love something you kill. i’ve been to small family farms where the husband, wife or kids play midwife when their cows or pigs are giving birth at 4am. They always aware of the safety of their animals, always protecting, feeding, giving affection and attention around the clock 365 days a year. They definitely love them. Is the point blank issue about love or is about killing? is killing an animal right or wrong? I honestly don’t know. Is the issue black and white? If killing animals is wrong then that would apply to all carnivores? Is it more wrong for a human to eat a deer than lion or a coyote? Could someone explain how you’d even go about figuring that out? PETA never talks about all of the animal death involved in growing vegan food, their one sided memes just seem really misleading.

Our preferences are not wrong. We don’t choice what we’re attracted to and we don’t always need to base our decisions on our preferences either. Life is flexible, break your own rules since they’re arbitrary anyway. Just try to be aware of the conflict of interests that lie within you and don’t snuff parts of yourself out (or shame others into snuffing them self out). This is something I wonder, there’s one school of thought that acts like we’re this eternal being that’s truly formless and can not be touched by this temporary worldly experience. And often that same crowd of people will also say that some disgraceful acts are somehow a blemish on your being.

The Fox and the Grapes is one of the traditional Aesop’s fables and can be held to illustrate the concept of cognitive dissonance. In this view, the premise of the fox that covets inaccessible grapes is taken to stand for a person who attempts to hold incompatible ideas simultaneously. In that case, the disdain the fox expresses for the grapes at the conclusion to the fable serves at least to diminish the dissonance even if the behaviour in fact remains irrational. The moral to the story is “It is easy to despise what you cannot get.”

Sour grapes aka The Fox and the Grapes is a great example of what people do in the health community. you take whatever food you’re not allowed and tell your self how much you don’t miss it and never really liked it. whatever, it’s how you’re coping. i saw my friend last summer who’s doing a low fat diet/lifestyle. she mentioned (and I don’t know if she remembers saying this) “i love french fries but i’m scared of all of the fat”. in that moment i was really rutting for her. i LOVE that she’s doing what the fuck she wants to do. she’d a grown up, she’s trying her best, she has dreams and goals and she wasn’t lying to herself. she deserves a goddamn metal! let’s all be straight up, say how we feel inside even when we have conflict within our self. Let’s not walk around correcting each other, that shit is old and feels dirty as fuck. Self correct and don’t get sucked into your own fallacies. and to save embarrassment down the road don’t try to suck other people into your fallacies.

DSC_11363 days ago i pissed away most of my day going down a rabbit hole on air purifiers. at first i was looking online to buy one new one then got on craigslist and decided to buy 2 used ones. the more info i looked at the more i wanted to spend a bunch of money and get really nice ones. i was leaning towards a craigslist ad where someone was selling 2 different models of a pretty expensive brand.DSC_1134

i played around on the brands website for a while and looked into the cost to replace and maintain filters and such which lead down deeper into the hole. i started looking up reviews for this craigslist brand on youtube and on the sidebar i was being enticed to watch DIY videos on how to make my own filter at home.DSC_1156

This was the first video i watched and the comments were so intelligent that i had to watch every video on DIY fan filters to see if anyone was taking the recommendations that were given in the comments.

While these filters don’t have an ionizer (which i really like) or any other bells and whistles there is one major factor that i couldn’t dismiss. a 20″ fan has more power/draw to move air so removing particles in the air is ultra efficient.  one of the reasons i’ve always like the ionic breeze air purifier is that you clean the filter instead of replace it but the air filters that were really catching my eye the other day all had proprietary filters that seemed way over priced. DSC_1134.1

for $88 (with tax) we bought everything new at home depot minus the duct tape that i think we found in the trash. 2 box fans (20″) were $17 each. The wicked fancy furnace filter that removes “Bacteria, Filters Dust, Filters Mold, Filters Pollen, Pleated, Removes Odors” each cost $20 and a 3 pack of lower rated filters for $8 total. DSC_1177

Take the fan, put on the “feet” for stability, tape one fancy high rated furnace filter to a lower rated filter then tape those to the back of the fan. Seal the filters to the fan with duct tape to capture the most particles. I’ve watch a ton of videos and some people put the filter on the front with a tiny piece of tape. Some people put the filter on the back and let the suction hold it to the fan. it appears that most people use a single filter and not necessarily the one with the highest rating because they cost more. from the comments under the video i posted above it seemed the best use of a fancy expensive filter ($20) is to extend it’s life with a cheap ($2) filter over it catching most of the junk. Sealing the fan isn’t required but it keeps the efficiency high and does not overheat the motor as explained by someone smart in the comments. DSC_1180

i’ve had a couple different purifiers over the year since hearing daniel vitalis talk about requiring support for all 4/5 elements to bring health, not just focusing on food “the earth element”. for the last 6 months we haven’t had a filter in our room. i noticed one day in the ray of sun pouring through a tiny spot in our curtains that we have insane amounts of dust. it was like a solid body of tiny little glitter dancing and whirling around that i was breathing in. i wish i had a particle counter to tell you how shit really went down but i can only say this, after the fan filter running for about 20 hours straight i looked through the light and saw a MAJOR reduction in dust. MAJOR! like instead of a solid body of dust there was just random little particles a foot apart. i’d say 95% reduction! since the fan filters are running 24 hours a day, one upstairs and one downstairs in our apartment the air quality has completely improved partly just because the air is constantly moving. i am pleased, this is good. DSC_1182

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Tiny House and Land

so i’m about to explode, it’s been days since the stupid incident and i keep trying to talk myself into putting it to rest but it’s not happening. i’ve been confronted by this type of person before and while it’s super uncomfortable i’ve always left the situation with an uncertainty on how i could have done things differently. that uncertainty seems like a black hole and the black hole puts thinking about it on hold. however this time is different, i finally know what i wish i had said but i pretty much want to tell the whole story. I need to get it out me.

there’s a local chain that we’re talking marketing pictures for. i worked for the company 8 years ago when it was starting out and the founder/owner was still very hands on. because i was 22 at the time i was a little too transparent and talked loudly about train hopping and veganism, blah blah blah. for whatever reason the owner appreciated my transparency and we’d have ‘real talk’. i’ve cried in front of him more times than is appropriate, once due to a conversation about styroform killing the planet (embarrassing). my point is that he knows what to expect with me and consistently has honors my judgement. he’s a really really great guy. we’ll call him Mr Awesome.

so we’re taking pictures of a handful of customers who volunteered to participate in this project. we’ve taken a dozen pictures over the last few months. last week we’re in this strangers house taking his picture in his kitchen. his wife is home, his little kids are in their room and all is well.

after the picture he signs the photo release and as he hands it over he says “i just wanted you to know that you’re welcome to come to our church, we go to the watermark, i don’t know if you’re familiar…” i cut him off, “oh, yes, i’ve seen that church before” i have a big stupid grin on my face because i think what he’s saying is incredibly polite, i’m honored and a little surprised but then he picks back up. “i don’t know what your religious background is…” i cut him off again, “i’m 100% jewish” i say with my stupid grin. historically speaking a lot of christians assume my star of david is a satanic symbol so i figured he was thinking i was satanic and in need of something better or whatever. (when i was 22 and on the clock a christian woman told Mr Awesome that she thought it was interesting that he had a witch working for him then he connected the dots and clarified what my tattoo actual represented and i was indeed not a witch). so i say i’m jewish and he zooms pass that. he starts talking a million miles a minute, every run on sentence grows longer and there’s no space for me to get in and say anything. he repeats “we’d really like it if you came out to lunch with me and my family” and his invitation to church maybe 3 or 4 times. he told these run on sentences of stories about what god has done for his marriage and mentions his friends drinking problem, mentions something to the tone of what kind of man he would like to be but fortunately for god keeping him straight he’s a better husband. he quickly asked how long we had been married. when we said almost 5 years he pretty much said that we must be a struggling with our young marriage then went back to the vague reference of him being a inner creep, trying to relate his nasty desires to what he imagined we must all be going through. my face instantly sunk, i fucking had tears in my eyes. i could barely hear over the voices in head saying, “fuck do we cry?!? do not cry! wait, maybe crying would take him down a notch. no, fuck that, do not cry.” the chemicals in my body were saying “you’re being attacked” with large sirens going off in my head. everything he was saying felt too personal, i felt like i wanted no part of it.

it wasn’t purely what he was saying but how he was saying it. he was talking in a way that was specifically to ensure that he got all of his words and thoughts in my head and that i couldn’t politely say anything. for 15 minutes he talked straight, he didn’t ask us anything for the sake of getting to know us. he baited a few times with loaded questions to further his golden opportunity to talk at us. he didn’t ask how me and mark met, he asked how long we were married so he could segue into saying more of what he wanted to say. i could have said anything, truth or not, i meant nothing in the moment. it’s fucking disgusting to have a conversation where you know what the other person wants to hear, it’s a total set up conversation. why even have it?

if a stranger asks me very private and personal shit that is a complete red flag and my brain will sound the fucking alarm, “we’re under attack! retreat!”.

what are we going to talk about my sex life next? maybe my childhood?

in my heart with my values i know that “god” pretty much trumps EVERYTHING. there is nothing more personal and sacred (and universal and maybe even mundane?) than something as literately wholly as that and you think i want to talk about that with you? that doesn’t even fucking compute… but neither does wearing clothes and having a job but i’m beyound civilazed enough to play along. i understand what is really going on, i’m being talked down to and being talked at. i’m on the fucking clock and all i can think is “if Mr Awesome or my father or another “real” adult was here this conversation wouldn’t be on this level. this stranger would likely invite them to his church but it completely felt as though this guy was crossing boundaries that he wouldn’t do with someone he had more respect for.” that’s my assumption. i felt completely disrespected.

this guy thinks he’s pulling one over on me, he thinks that if he uses smiles and the polite gesture of inviting me to spend time with his family that saying nice things in disrespectful ways some how makes it okay. if you treat me like a piece of shit by talking at me then you acting like a nice guy is just manipulative. i don’t need your approval or your family’s company. that sounds like the worst fucking self serving idea ever. hell no.

just to get on a high horse real quick, this guy doesn’t know me, doesn’t know what special little relationships live in my heart. since he doesn’t know me he’s taking the high road of assuming that he has more answers than i do. and assuming he knows what my questions are in the first place. let’s see, he had answers for shitty marriages and alcoholism…if i was god i would have fired him in the moment, “take your shit and get out of here. she doesn’t even drink you asshole”. you’re not a palm reader, i’m not asking you to guess my sign. we’re talking about THE TRUTH, i don’t need your bullshit guessing games. go work on your marriage because i promise you’re using me to distract yourself from your own issues.

am i really all bent out of shape with this religious version of being tele-marketed to? no, the frustration is pretty much 2 things which have to do with me.
#1 in my head it feels like the person talking at me is silencing me but it’s really the voice in my head that says if i speak up i will be written off. if i say that i think something they’re saying is bullshit they’re just going to do a character assassination. it’s the devil in my that i closing my heart or some shit they may assume so i feel defeated, unlistened to and unheard then silence myself.
#2 some of the frustration i chalk up to the growing pains of the shoe being on the other foot. how many times i have i posted some stupid article on facebook as an indirect way to talk at someone. it’s belittling and i was doing it because i didn’t respect the person i was secretly hoping would see it. (again, embarrassing)

so here is what i’ve figured out:
1. i do have a voice. if someone is playing the run on sentence game i can either scream or walk away.
2. if someone is saying some crazy stuff to me vaguely about god and i can contest. i’m not contesting god i’m contesting every word in the sentence except the word god. i don’t have to be scared of people attacks and fear tactics. if i’m not credible to listen to then why act like we’re having a discussion?

if i could go back in time here’s what i would do, i would interrupt the guy and say this:
“no, you’re taking advantage of me & you’re belittling me by trying to just slide this conversation past me with out even checking in to see if you’re crossing any of my boundaries. No.”

if i’m in your house then the ball is in your court. if i’m on the clock and us speaking to each other is required as part of my job then you’re taking advantage me.

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after biking a few miles in Phoenix on a very hot 101 degree day i was inspired to buy a large bottle of lemonade. i bet that was my first time buying lemonade in my life. it was a maybe a half of a gallon of 3 ingredient; organic lemon juice, organic sugar & water. i don’t think i could remake the same half gallon organic for the same low price of $2.69 but i was inspired to make my own non-organic version.

this is funny, how many times have i looked up how to use some herbal or wild crafted item to see a recipe full of sugar. i always had a feeling of shock and would think “how the hell do herbs and processed shit go together in a recipe? how mainstream of them and they don’t even know to be embarrassed”. then i’d look up a hippie alternative that used honey or something and wonder why all recipes weren’t on a that caliber. now that the shoe’s on the other foot i will say this; the drink is pure pleasure.

Lemonade Recipe

i googled a lemonade recipe and the first one the popped up had been rated by 1,400 people with almost 5 stars so i felt that was the route to go. it’s damn near impossible to follow a recipe, even if it’s 3 ingredient. their recipe said 1.75 cup of sugar and i did 1.25.

here’s what i did late last night

  • measured 1.25 cup of sugar then set it aside til morning (any sweetener would work, less would work as well)
  • boiled water then poured in ceramic tea pot, added a handful of raspberry leaf & tulsi then cover with a towel over night
  • juiced 9 small lemons then realized i didn’t have even close to enough juice then juiced a bunch of limes totaling 1.25 cup
  • sliced up ginger because i was too lazy to want to dirty & clean the grater
  • mixed the ginger in the juice and let it marinate in the fridge overnight

next morning

  • strained the tea from herbs
  • heated up a small pot of the tea with the sugar til it dissolved
  • poured the plain tea into a half gallon glass, added the warm sugared tea to that
  • removed the ginger from the juice, added that to the tea
  • my measurements were pretty good, bottle was full

i poured my first glass to taste it and it was epic! super epic! i added water to top off my bottle, replacing the 8 ounces from my first tasting which give this recipe 9 servings (8oz) for 130 calories of pure sugar each. i won’t go as far as saying that the recipe is too sweet but i would like to play around with using less sugar. also i’ve been pouring maybe 4 ounces of this citrus gingerage to 20 ounces of water for a flavor enhancer. i like being conservative.


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i wrote this article and it is awesome. dig through it even just to look at the pictures. ENJOY!

UPDATE!!! —> i’ve learned how to eat for free.


so in my ebook about saving money i talk about budgeting food expenses. before we moved to arkansas $120 was our weekly food money but there was supplementing to it from our “extras” funds if we went out to eat or bought some frozen yogurt. so the number is higher than $120 but $120 is the grocery story weekly average. when we moved back to texas we had a ton of money because we sold our land. then it became clear that living at my parents i needed my own car. so we poured $2,500 into that. then a week later the car died and paid to get it towed home. within a week of that we concluded that dallas would really offer us more satisfying jobs. there was one apartment complex that was a couple hundred dollars less than anything else and is an best neighborhood in dallas which is like living in the forest. so in order to secure an ideal apartment without having a job we paid 6th months of rent upfront, thousands of dollars. we went from rich to poor over night. we even had to borrow money so that we’d have food and gas to get by. mark got a job but the day for him to start kept getting pushed back and before you know it we are scrapping together change to buy food for the week. the food i was eating on borrowed money was a ton of fruit from the cheap store and rationing some meat from the fancy store with small amounts of rice here and there & a homemade hail mary chocolate/coconut filling kind of thing. the day were were out of borrowed-money food we cashed in all of our coins, $15 for a weeks worth of food. for 2 people that’s a dollar a day.


the first thing that came to mind was what i did 13 years ago, ramen noodles. so we get to the store and ramen (3.5oz) is 5 for $1. i’m feeling resistant to eating ramen but i’m also excited that i can’t throw money at my problems. we look around the store and find a cheaper than raman option. a small bag of pasta (7 oz) is also 5 for $1. we find the bullion section of the store and opt for the slightly higher quality powdered shit. marks eyeing the lobster flavor and i compare ingredients. the chicken flavor one resembles ramens flavor profile more closely. SALT, SUGAR, FLAVOR (in that order). this one doesn’t have the crazy amounts of filler, says all natural on the front and cost a dollar more. i did buy a huge watermelon & that was pretty much all of our money. we had a weeks worth of pasta, stock flavoring and fruit.

believe it or not our food lasted almost 2 weeks! but it also included using the last cans of tuna, eating anything that we had avoided in the pantry and adding butter to everything.

here’s an example of a meal that we’d split and because the butter had been untouched in the fridge for a while, same with the tuna, this meal cost *20 cents* off of that weeks trip to the store. let’s add in the tuna and butter for our new total, $2.45 for 2 people. not bad.


770 calories PASTA *7 oz
200 calories BUTTER * 2 TB
175 calories TUNA can
I know how much we all like talking about junk food so here it is.


i’m still on a GOKALEO kick. one of the things she talks about is getting adequate amounts of calories. Eating too little calories of food will have your body burning up its own tissues, organs and muscles as an energy source. calories are a log on the fire. it’d be ideal to burn energy from food and not internal organs, obviously. when working out we require a lot of fuel to get through the workout and to grow our muscle. nutrients matter and calories matter but calories matter more. using our kindergarten analogy of a fire lasting only as long is it’s fueled, for the most part, makes sense. calorie is a measurement of heat. 1 calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of a gram of water by one degree Celsius. building more muscle is definitely like building a bigger fire. more fire, more logs. you can build a big fire with lots of shit logs or lots of good quality logs but either way more fuel is required. however, wanting to build a big fire with small high quality logs will give you a very good short burn.

nutrient AND calorie dense foods together would be IDEAL and so would having all your needs met without having to be rich.

5 years ago nutrient density was my goal and i consumed a lot of things that were higher in nutrients per calorie but over all it wasn’t enough calories so my body broke down muscle to fuel the fire.

earlier this year i started refeeding to get my body temperature closer 98.7, it was in the low 97s. my extreme dry skin and extreme cold aversions were a product of an unbalanced low carb / paleo lifestyle (under-eating as well). when i was paleo my skin would breakout if i ate anything with rancid veggie old oil in it and my joints would hurt if i ate something with sugar in it. praise the lord, it’s a sign! then i’d be strict until the next binge. i used to think binging was a sign of weakness, ha! 50% of my binging was because i was starving for calories, the other half was because my diet was unbalance in macro nutrients. when i was a raw foodist and ate something cooked i’d feel bad, again, i’d thank the lord for giving me a sign. but refeeding was an exploration of breaking the orthorexic ties. while i was paleo i’d binged on frozen yogurt and i’d chalk it up to a moment of weakness, making all sorts of excuses & justifications. with refeeding there’s none of that, no making up stories about what the food is or isn’t, ZERO MORALS. everyday i’d commit to eating a bunch of junk food and calories and NOT read the ingredient list or try not to think of factory farm milk or eggs. so a week into living on walmart cake (which is pure rancid oil, sugar and flour) my skin became BABY SOFT! i got out of the shower and hadn’t put coconut oil on yet and my body just moisturized itself! first time in 3 years! no breakouts, no joint pain. the only sign from the lord was my largest organ, the skin, seemed to be functioning again.

3 months into refeeding my pants were all way too uncomfortable. my prides way too high to buy clothes that fit so i thanked refeeding for decluttering my brain. for years my brain had millions of little comments about other peoples food choices (NOT FRIENDS OR FAMILY but strangers) now i don’t have that. if someone is eating junk food there is a silence upstairs that wasn’t there before. and most of the time it wouldn’t be words or thoughts but i’d get a feeling or my brain would experience a change in vibration based solely on someone ordering chicken on their salad or getting a diet soda with their meal. i don’t transmute these thoughts, they are just no longer there. i definitely feel like i can vibe with more people now, how sad that i was resistant to people! orthorexia was my mental disorder. so i’m no longer over eating but focusing on a small calorie deficiency so that my clothes can fit. i have noticed a dip in my body temperature from eating less which really sucks. for a minute there, i’d be somewhere and someone would say they were cold and i’d feel fine. then last week i sat in a coffee shop for hours and was freezing. then a few days later i went to a thrift store and the AC there had me freezing again! cold aversion /freezing is not simply being uncomfortable, it’s fucking torture. i hate it.

some of the symptoms that i thought were a sign of going in the wrong direction were actually sensations of tissue/cellar repair and muscle repletion despite feeling like shit and looking like i’d gained 10lbs over night.

gokaleo talks about people with disordered thinking imagining that because you eat junk food you must only eat junk food. if someone i know eats some bullshit fast food i can’t assume that it’s the only thing they eat.

so the dogma free advice of the day is to really tell everyone to “eat whatever you want”. if you think that you shouldn’t tell people to eat whatever they want because people will just eat junk food then speak for yourself. also considering having a wider variety of friends, people aren’t what you think. a few weeks into refeeding i was living off beans and rice, i didn’t want meat or junk food. i didn’t crave or look forward to decedent food, eating enough of all the macro nutrients is satisfying.

i still have moments where i want to not eat because all of my food choices seem like they’re bad then i snap out of it and feel like it’s time to grow up.

heres some cheap calorie dense foods in case you’re down to your last few dollars, clearly this is not for those rich at heart.
250 calories / 16 cents -DONUT (stores sell day old donuts 12 for $2)
120 calories / 32 cents -CHEESE 1oz
322 calories / $1.50 AVOCADO whole
188 calories / 12 cents PEANUT BUTTER 2tb
140 calories / 14 cents FROSTING 2tb
770 calories / 20 cents PASTA 7 oz
200 calories / 20 cents RICE 1cup
70 calories / 12 cents BREAD slice
500 calories/ 99cents RAVIOLI can

compare to yummy:
164 calories / $5 RASPBERRIES pint

so this list is a bit ridiculous but i find value in entertaining these things because we’re going to be living on the cheap for months while we get out shit together.
the bit about feeling like shit after consuming some taboo foods came about after talking with deb. she asked me what “diet of the month i was on” then it launched into pretty much everything i’ve talked about here. the point isn’t that junk food is all good but rather that isn’t not ALL bad. but i’m sure you already know this.



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EDIT: 8 months later the beard reads this and shares his side HERE

i’m going to start by saying this post is clearly super personal and a very sensitive subject.

I have an amazing friend who talks about PTSD. she’s attracted to men in uniform and has seen how post traumatic stress has affected loved ones in her life. she also knows the affects of PTSD first hand because she has done many brave things including spending her last dollar to drive into hurricane katrina to save peoples lives. I’ve heard the story, it’s over the top. maybe she’d be willing to do a guest post on that experience.

last week i connected some dots in my life. i need professional help and a proper diagnoses. i haven’t put the whole story together but maybe bits & pieces of my story will help some one with theirs.

like so many other people, i’ve had a life time problems. being a kid there was a struggle to just get enough food. i’d been diagnosed with depression and the first half of my life was lived in the shadows of suicidal obsession. there’s not one situation that broke me and i don’t won’t to confuse anyone about that.

when i was 21 or 22 i had seen this bearded guy who worked at whole foods. he would never give me eye contact and always looked serious or angry. one day i sat in my car in the wal-mart parking lot about to go inside. as clear as can be my brain insisted i bring my phone inside with me. it seemed like a strange thought. it wasn’t like, park the car, grab my phone and walk in the store. instead there was this paused feeling and my brain was clearly telling me something. in rebellion i left my phone in the car and walked  into the store. within moments of walking in the store the bearded guy is coming towards me with a level of excitement which resembles reuniting with a great friend. he was bubbling with so much excitement i really thought there must be someone behind me that he knows. he walked right up to me and asked if i remembered him from whole foods.

it was strange. he had just walked out on whole foods and neither of us were big wal-mart shoppers. it was too strange. meeting for the first time felt like we had some catching up to do so we walked outside to the back of the parking lot & sat in the grass. he was a passionate vegan just like me and we were reading books that were totally different but both about our culture fucking over children (i was reading “consuming kids”, he was reading “lies my teacher told me”, i think). we talked until i had to go pick my mother up from the synagogue to drive her home. walking to our cars he tells me that he doesn’t live with anyone and for the first time i felt hesitant to own up having a boyfriend (who i adored). when i said the word boyfriend i could see the disappointment. i insisted that  we hang out and when he went to tell me his number i reached for my phone and it wasn’t there. i gave him my number and felt nervous that he wouldn’t call me or be my friend and that our connection was lost.  but he did call me and for a month straight we hung out all of the time.

half of the time that we hung out my boyfriend would be with us and i’d feel like a 3rd wheel. they’d talk about all sorts of smart shit and both of them seemed to enjoy each others company a hell of a lot more than my company. i’d been living with my boyfriend for 3 years at that point. i super adored him. he was smart and mature and knew more about the world than i did. he treated me like a friend and a roommate and had zero issues with me hanging out with the beard at all hours. me and the beard would sleep on roof tops together and wheat pasted fast food joints. he was an adventurous partner in crime. the idea of train hopping came up and i begged my boyfriend to come with us but he was committed to going back to college. after 3 weeks of me & the beard riding the rails together we’re near the end of our trip. sitting on concrete in omaha he says, “you know i like you…” and i pause and think, “yeah, i like you too, friend” but i don’t say anything. it becomes clear that he likes me and in fact he has an undying love for me.

up until that point i’d always been the one who ‘loved more’. it was profound having someone look me in the eye, someone i didn’t have to beg to love me, and all they want is to hear that i love them back. that was new to me. so he lets the cat out of the bag in such a way that the trip was instantly over. at sunrise we walked to greyhound and went back to dallas. 17 hour bus ride, we sat side by side and he caressed my arm the entire 17 hours. at that point my head was spinning. this guy who i barley knew, who i thought liked my boyfriend more than me was giving me more love in 17 hours than i had felt in my entire life. i had been cheated on by my first boyfriend and knew that to be one of the most heartless things so i had to figure out fast what i was going to do.

when the beard told me that he loved me the passion in his voice raised a very big red flag. i was leaning towards staying with my boyfriend but felt very numb. my boyfriend knew a lot of stuff and had a great sense of humor but he expressed zero emotion with me. here the beard was burning with emotion. when we got back to dallas we parted ways and he called me that night saying he was coming over. all i wanted was to see him but he never showed up. days went by and i couldn’t get a hold of him. i had saved a number that he had called me from right before our adventure and dialed that. his mother answered the phone. she was so sweet and concerned.

long story short the beard was jail because he tried to kill himself. basically he couldn’t handle me going back to my boyfriend and him going back to nothing, he went to jail for getting super fucked up then crashing his car which clearly was fucking extreme.

he got out of jail that night and i drove to carrolton to see him at his parents house. the romance vibe was out of this world. when he looked at me he saw the most beautiful woman in the world. i left his parents house as the sun went up, i couldn’t cheat on my boyfriend. i drove home and told him point blank. the tone in his reaction was as if we were talking about laundry.

there was no way in hell we could have rode off into the sun and left all be well. it was a train wreck from the start that lasted 2.5 years. first a sold year of me not wanting to commit to him (oh the regret) then he can’t take me pushing him away so he secretly fucks my “friend” and gaslights my unfounded feelings of feeling threatened by this chicks presence. so i crack and play it straight. all i want is for his undying love to be on the forefront. we move in together, i submit to giving him my heart, i put a lot of love into us, we’re friends again! late night bike rides and all this great one on one time together.

…then some shit goes down. my friend tries to save his own ass by telling me that 9 months earlier my boyfriend had slept with a “friend”. so then the short lived friendship explodes and down, down, down the spiral goes. the beard gets a job at a bar, becomes an alcoholic and i become the bitchy girlfriend because i don’t drink, i can’t stand the idea of hanging out at a bar and this mounting feeling of needing someone to acknowledge my broken heart of betrayal. how can someone look you in the eye with undying love then fuck you over? the pain hurt and the beard couldn’t apologize. this is a theme, cheat on me then tell me how it’s my fault. that hurts so bad.

his drinking got worse to the point of extreme. i was going crazy and shit was falling apart. in the end we weren’t together anymore but we still had our apartment so he’d randomly show up. i’d stay up late, unable to sleep, feeling like sand falling through my finger. i’d stay awake listening to the darkness hoping to hear him coming home.  every time he’d get more distant i’d get more will to do whatever it was he needed. he already fucked some other chick (again) and felt like things were irreparable. he couldn’t handle shit anymore so he ran off to the coast.

it’s been 5 years since he’s run away & i still get these crazy nightmares.

“Post traumatic stress disorder is classified as an anxiety disorder; the characteristic symptoms are not present before exposure to the violently traumatic event. Typically the individual with PTSD persistently avoids all thoughts, emotions and discussion of the stressor event and may experience amnesia for it. However, the event is commonly relived by the individual through intrusive, recurrent recollections, flashbacks and nightmares.” -American Psychiatric Association

i hate it. i hate reliving the shit in my dreams. i wake up with so much anxiety, all i want to do is call him. all i want to do is run away. all i want to do it die…. until, like amnesia, it goes away.

the beard got to this point where he wouldn’t talk to me. i’d have these nightmares and feel like the world was going to end if i didn’t talk to him. 2 years ago i couldn’t take it any more. i found his phone number and begged him to talk to me. the anxiety is so high that no one could understand why i’d NEED to talk to him. i’ve felt so much shame, guilt and confusion that i haven’t looked clearly at what i’ve been going through. my husband is amazing, how am i supposed to explain, “i had this flashback of the beard and i all i want is to runaway and die”? the beard was shitty as fuck! and my husband is amazing. 5 years later why is this still affecting me?

last week i had another dream, it brought me to a dark place. i couldn’t take it anymore and had to text the beard. the beard hates talking to me and i feel like shit for randomly texting him when i’m panicking. if i text him it’s likely he won’t respond. my first text was “please tell me something” then he wrote back, “i miss you, always”. then i say, “these dreams, they need to stop” then he says, “i have them too”. this went on for hours, surprisingly. i was describing to him my feeling, how it feels like i’m reliving him leaving and so i HAVE to talk to him, i have to make sure he’s still there.  i said that to him and something clicked, i googled some things and found this website:

i need help, i need the dreams to stop, i need to not feel guilt and shame for the very complex emotions that is beyond my skill level of handling.


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calories. more can be better.

food is good

age 29, my birthday 013

so after digging through ten long pages of blog posts by Go Kaleo i’ve got more to bring to the table. she talks about calories and why they matter. if i understood her, it seems pretty straight forward. there’s a general way to calculate how many units of energy (calories) each of our bodies need. in order for me to run around as a waitress 8 hours a day, sleep 9.5 hours a night, maintain my 140lbs of weight while being 5’4” i require 2,300 calories (give or take 300 calories). when i eat less calories i won’t maintain my weight and when i eat a whole lot less calories my body takes the required energy from my bones, brain, organs, and muscles for fuel. taking someones blog on it’s word i looked up what my requirements were and for the first time i had a number (2,300 calories). then i looked up how many calories a day i’d been eating for the last 2+ months. holy hell. i’ve been eating between 1,000 to 1,300. no wonder my workouts had to be put on hold when i started eating to reduce gut inflamation. wow, that totally puts in persective all the junk food me and mark would split. a bag of chips is 1,300 calories, a box of cookies can be 900 calories, the amount of frozen yogurt that i would personally get would be around 400 calories and a tablespoon of peanut butter is 100 calories. mark would eat a large jar of peanut butter over the course of a few days. being that i’ve been on the full gamit of restrictive diets, it’s pretty clear that the cycle of clean eating that would take place for days, weeks or months at a time would be a calorie deficit turned over on its head. at some point the dam would have to break and i’d get on a streak of fro yo….daily. but think about it, all the junk food would bring in a daily calorie surge of 400 or more in one sitting, for a person consistently striving to (unknowingly) under-eat, the junk food was a saving (calorie) grace. looking back, i went a pretty decent stretch of time without eating junk food when i was pumped about 100% raw veganism. granted i lived off of processed powders and agave syrup….i did eat at least 4 avocados a day (around 300 calories each) then add in the many chocolate drinks, the many nut pates and the tons of fruit. all in all i lost a ton of muscle but my calories were not so bad. no supplemental bag of chips needed. my first impression about paleo was that it was a low carb kind of thing. since then robb wolf and chris kresser have been trying to steer the boat in the other direction (saying that paleo isn’t low carb and that calories do matter). but that message didn’t sink in and in the end i clearly ate too little calories because my cravings for calorie dense snacks (junk) came way too often. eating in a way that less inflames my gut seems to be around 1300 calories on a good day. now having the eye to understand my cravings (for more calories) really takes off the judgment and shame of my junk food ways.

liver, plants, food 020

here’s the insight i’ve gained from this new looking glass: *if i don’t want to crave/eat junk then i really need to get more calories in through whole foods, about 2300 calories *gaining muscle requires even more calories than my maintainence minimum *junk food has done me some favors in the past and bad mouthing junk food is no way to return the favor *real food can only do so much if there’s not enough fuel to maintain the fire *more real food is the way *food includes all the macros (fat, protein & carbs!)

when eating a restrictive diet, be sure you’re not semi-starving yourself. there are 2 must-reads (and include links to the calculators for figuring out how much you need and how much you’ve been getting):

i’d LOVE to hear any insights or disagreements.

raw vegan days. bloated & no muscle.

raw vegan days. bloated & no muscle.

here’s some calorie* refrences: 1 med avocado 322*

4oz. bacon 611*  or 1 slice 46*

cooked ground beef 1/2lb 579*

1/2 lb ground pork  600*

1medium raw banana 105*

1 carrot 16*

med sweet pot 100*

med potato 161*

coconut oil 1T 120*

1T butter 102

1/4 cup coconut milk 111*, 1Tablesp 28*, 1 cup 445

1cup cooked rice, 205*

1oz slice cheddar 113*

med egg 63*

1T peanut butter 94*

8oz chips 1278*

11oz fro yo  413*

chocolate bar 3.5 oz  593*

4oz cookies  473*

large cucumber peeled 32*

1cup boiled spinach 41*

1cup chard (boiled) 35*

1 cup zucchini (boiled) 29*

1 cup raspberries 64*

1cup blueberries  84*

med orange 62*