Link Love (2015-08-29)

Thought-provoking

9 Simple Tricks to Having Good Conversations – All Groan Up

“At age six, I ran away with my sister to escape the Rwandan massacre. We spent seven years as refugees. What do you want me to do about it? Cry?” Everything Is Yours, Everything Is Not Yours – Medium

Why more companies are looking at alternative management structures, and why you should too – Culture Zine

“Ultimately, the big takeaway that many folks have when you refuse to include content warnings is that the trauma that they have experienced isn’t important to you.
Whether it was a veteran who just barely made it out of combat alive, a black man who was the victim of a vicious hate crime, or a woman who was violently sexually assaulted, what you’re saying to them is that what they’ve been through and what they need to survive is completely and utterly unimportant to you.
And if you aren’t the slightest bit concerned about that message, there’s some deeper reflection that needs to happen.
Because while no one is asking you to fix their struggles for them or hold their hand, what they are asking is that you care enough to write a single sentence on that article or in that syllabus, just enough to give them the chance to opt out or put some self-care in place if they need to.” When You Oppose Trigger Warnings, You’re Really Saying These 8 Things – Everyday Feminism

Reading – a simple habit of successful people (infographic) – Ebook Friendly

“I have come to feel that love is a neutral thing, not an automatic good thing as most seem to assume. It is in and of itself neither good nor bad. There is a selfish love, there is a smothering love, there is a love that seeks to control, a love that does not let go. This is not a good love, it is not a kind love, it is an abusive love. And so I find that I care less about whether someone “loves” another person than I do about how they treat them.
Loving someone does not get a person off the hook for treating them horribly—nor does it soften the treatment. Indeed, it makes it worse.” When Love Is Abuse – Love, Joy, Feminism

Can Reading Make You Happier? – The New Yorker

Equality

“But receiving a full scholarship to an Ivy League school, while a transformative experience for the nation’s poorest students, is only the first hurdle. Once on campus, students report feelings of loneliness, alienation, and plummeting self-confidence. Having grant money for tuition and fees and holding down jobs, too, as virtually all of them do, doesn’t translate to having the pocket money to keep up with free-spending peers. And some disadvantaged students feel they don’t have a right to complain to peers or administrators about anything at all; they don’t want to be perceived as ungrateful.” What is it like to be poor at an Ivy League school? – The Boston Globe

Lee Mokobe: A powerful poem about what it feels like to be transgender – TED

“Do you see the problem? Of the ten free skins offered, only three (bandit, barmaid, and baroness) present as female while the other seven present as male. You could argue that this is just one game, or that the ratio isn’t that far off, or that I’m taking games too seriously. I would have to disagree.” What’s wrong with Minecraft’s new pocket edition skins? – Love, Joy, Feminism

These 7 Common Responses to Sexual Violence Are Actually Really Harmful – Here’s What to Say Instead – Everyday Feminism

Beauty & Body Image

A Transgender Woman’s Journey Toward Loving Her Body – Mara Glatzel

“To step away from the agreements of the beauty myth (the idea of perfection that is always just out of reach and seems to stand between you and some measure of worth) isn’t popular. It isn’t easy. It means disagreement. But it is within you to disagree. It might mean turning off your television. It might mean letting go of the notion that everyone will accept you if you just change. It might mean spending some (or a lot) of time with yourself reflecting on what you want your life to be about. Where we spend our energy grows. Spending it solely on this idea of perfection doesn’t suit your higher self. You have more to do in this life than run an un-winable race.
The truth is, we do live in a culture that in it’s present state holds women to standards of beauty that have nothing to do with who we are. There is an oppressive message that without it, we cannot be great. But you don’t have to agree. Letting go of that will likely spin you inward on a journey examining your old ideas about yourself, where they have come from and where you want to go from here. But that journey– that is one worth having. Because unlike the tales of the joys at the end of the pursuit of perfection, there is peace there. It is within you to find it.” How do I stop hating my body? Well love, that’s within you. – Erin Brown

The video-game industry has a dress code – driven by a lack of diversity – The Guardian 

“When I was first flirting with minimalism, I couldn’t have been more in to the capsule wardrobe idea: 10 items for 2 weeks? I can do that!! 33 items for 3 months, no problem. This is just what I need to get my wardrobe under control. It’ll be so liberating! Except it wasn’t.” What’s Wrong with Capsule Wardrobes? – The Minimal Closet

Small Changes, Big Difference – The Directrice

Inspirational

Getting Your Decluttering Goals Accomplished – Nourshing Minimalism

“Our brains — already over-worked & exhausted — cannot cope with too many choices. We’re asked if we want small, medium or large; full fat, half & half, soy or almond milk; vanilla, strawberry or chocolate; skinny, bootleg, boyfriend or bellbottom. Actually, being presented with too many options stresses our brain. It gives it too many things to compare & contrast. The problem with being given a lot of choices is that we simply don’t have the time to research or investigate all of them… & then we feel like we have failed.” Happiness Is Simple: Why Too Many Choices Make Us Miserable & 5 Ways to Improve Your Life – Gala Darling

How to Reduce Clutter to Reduce Stress – HGTV

“Yep. There’s almost no limit to what you can do. People can achieve incredible things in 1000 days. People have achieved truly monumental things in 1000 days. If you really think about it, you can reach just about any goal – or at least make a huge amount of progress toward it — in 1000 days.
And yet, in the grand scheme of things, in the lifespan of the average human being, 1000 days is a blip. It’s not that long. You get comfortable, allow your existence to grow staid, and dutifully punch the clock on whatever life you’ve fallen into and those 1000 days just slip right on by. They bleed into each other. “What, it’s Thanksgiving already?”
Furthermore, 1000 days is enough time to accomplish almost anything but not so much time that your entire life is wasted if you fail. You can bounce back and learn from your mistakes. “Well, that didn’t work. What’s next?” Some people bounce back after forty years in prison, and you’re worried about 1000 days?” Take the 1000 Day Challenge! – Mark’s Daily Apple

3 Eye-Opening Lessons for Rethinking Rejection – Psychology Today

“It is absolutely, unequivocally, most definitely YOUR business and YOURS ALONE the food you put into your mouth.
NO ONE gets to make you feel like crap for eating some potato chips and they don’t get to do it for you not eating the cheesecake at the party, either.
I am a healthy eater and I know that in order to live in a world where I can eat a grain free, dairy free, soy free diet without being constantly judged, annoyed, and looked sideways at, I have to give out the same courtesy to others whose eating decisions would not work for me.
You don’t need to apologize, make excuses for yourself, or justify your choices. You are in charge of you.” Your Food is YOUR Business: Sunday Self Love Challenge – Health Love Balance

Health

The Secret to Overcoming PCOS: The Ultimate PCOS Diet – Paleo for Women

“So, over the last year I’ve shifted my own goals, and I’ve also reevaluated the approach to weight loss I use with clients. I’ve been eating at a small calorie surplus and am now hovering right around 170 pounds. I have, essentially, gained 20 pounds in the last year. My current weight puts me just over the ‘healthy weight’ cut off on the BMI scale, I am officially overweight. In the last year, the primary focus of my training and diet has been strength and mass gains. I have gained some lean mass, and I’ve also gained some fat.This is not a failure. I am not planning to ‘cut’ after some arbitrarily approved ‘bulking’ period. In fact, as of right now, I have no plans to lose weight or fat, ever again. I do not wish that all my gains had been muscle. There is nothing wrong with gaining some fat. It does not make me inadequate or undesirable or unhealthy. Even having a BMI that qualifies as overweight doesn’t make me any of those things. My weight is just a number. A data point. It is not a value judgement. Do you want to see the body that a year of eating lots of food and focus on GAINS has produced?” I Am Overweight – Go Kaleo

Batch Cooking 101 – Autoimmune Paleo

“Have you heard about the purported benefits of daily coffee enemas? A collection of recent website articles may have you feeling intrigued by the range of asserted health claims.  However, I recommend reading this post before you do one.” Coffee Enemas: What the Science Says versus What You’ve Heard – The Paleo Mom

8 Mistakes I Made When Trying to Change My Body – Coconuts & Kettlebells

“More than 20 years ago I discovered something: When I stopped having dairy, I stopped having period pain. Since then, I’ve worked with thousands of patients and I’ve seen the same thing over and over again. Stopping dairy can dramatically improve period pain, heavy periods,endometriosis, acne, and PMS.
Stopping dairy can improve period problems, but not every time. It depends on the person, and it depends on the type of dairy.” What Dairy Does to Periods – Lara Briden

The Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Food Index – Good Food Eating

Recipes

Fermented Elderberry and Honey Soda – Empowered Sustenance

Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar for Life: Paleo Inside-Out Bread – Daily Mail

AIP Paleo Instant Pot Sweet & Sour Mango Chicken Thighs – Paleo Cajun Lady

Pressure Cooker Sweet & Tangy Pork – Grazed and Enthused

Berry-Infused Thai Drinking Vinegar – Autoimmune Paleo

Coconut Milk Yogurt with Strawberry-Balsamic Sauce (Instapot, Dairy-free, AIP) – Flame to Fork

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

the immortal life of henrietta lacksContent warning for cancer, racism, classism, medical procedures, death.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably never heard about Henrietta Lacks, although you might have heard about HeLa cells. The first line of immortal cells, that have been used to research what causes cancer, and how can we suppress it, developing drugs for herpes, influenza, leukemia and Parkinson’s disease. With their help scientists have been able to study sexually transmitted diseases, lactose digestion, human longevity, etc., and today these cells can be found in almost every laboratory in the world.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot covers all of the important research that became possible thanks to the HeLa cells, and just as importantly, it covers the background story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor, black tobacco-farmer who died of cervical cancer in 1951 – never even knowing that the cells had been taken from her, or what they were being used for. It is also the story of a racist, class-divided society where the children of the woman, whose cells made millions and made so much important research possible, cannot themselves afford health insurance or health care. Furthermore it raises vital ethical questions around tissue donation, research and who profits.

Skloot shows the appalling reality behind how many African-Americans were treated in research:

“What do you know about African-Americans and science?”
I told him about the Tuskegee syphilis study like I was giving an oral report in history class: It started in the thirties, when U.S. Department of Public Health researches at the Tuskegee Institute decided to study how syphilis killed, from infection to death. They recruited hundreds of African-American men with syphilis, then watched them die slow, painful, and preventable deaths, even after they realized penicillin could cure them. The research subjects didn’t ask questions. They were poor and uneducated, and the researchers offered incentives: free physical exams, hot meals, and rides into town on clinic days, plus fifty-dollar burial stipends for their families when the men died. The researchers chose black subjects because they, like many whites at the time, believed black people were a “notoriously syphilis-soaked race.”
The public didn’t learn about the Tuskegee study until the seventies after hundreds of men enrolled in it had already died. The news spread like pox through black communities: doctors were doing research on black people, lying to them, and watching them die. Rumors started circulating that the doctors had actually injected the men with syphilis in order to study them.
“What else?” Pattillo grumbled.
I told him I’d heard about so-called Mississippi Appendectomies, unnecessary hysterectomies performed on poor black women to stop them from reproducing, and to give young doctors a chance to practice the procedur. I’d also read about the lack of funding for research into sickle-cell anemia, a disease that affected blacks almost exclusively.

Henrietta Lacks

The most well-known picture of Henrietta Lacks

She also illuminates how rarely people would questions doctors in the 1950’s, especially not if you were African-American:

In early June [1951], Henrietta told her doctors several times that she thought the cancer was spreading, that she could feel it moving through her, but they found nothing wrong with her. “The patient states that she feels fairly well,” one doctor wrote in her chart, “however she continues to complain of some vague lower abdominal discomfort…No evidence of recurrence. Return in one month.”
There’s no indication that Henrietta questioned him; like most patients in the 1950’s, she deferred to anything her doctors said. This was a time when “benevolent deception” was a common practice – doctors often withheld information from their patients, sometimes not giving them any diagnosis at all. They believed it was best not to confuse or upset patients with frightening terms they might not understand, like cancer. Doctors knew best, and most patients didn’t question that.
Especially black patients in public wards. This was 1951 in Baltimore, segregation was law, and it was understood that black people didn’t question white people’s professional judgement. Many black patients were just glad to be getting treatment, since discrimination in hospitals was widespread.
There’s no way of knowing whether or how Henrietta’s treatment would have differed ifs he’d been white. According to Howard Jones, Henrietta got the same care any white patients would have; the biopsy, the radium treatment, and radiation were all standard for the day. But several studies have shown that black patients were treated and hospitalized at later stages of their illnesses than white patients. And once hospitalized, they got fewer pain medications, and had higher mortality rates.

The cells were originally taken from Henrietta without her knowledge or consent, after she died her husband was pressured into giving his permission for an autopsy – and for more cells to be taken. But taking Henrietta’s cells without her consent, wasn’t the only unethical thing researchers did. HeLa cells were also injected into patients with cancer, as well as healthy people to see what would happen – again without their consent.

While HeLa cells were incredibly useful in research, they also turned out to be much more potent than any researchers could have predicted:

Scientists knew they had to keep their cultures free from bacterial and viral contamination, and they knew it was possible for cells to contaminate one another if they got mixed up in culture. But when it came to HeLa they had no idea what they were up against. It turned out Henrietta’s cells could flat through the air on dust particles. They could travel from one culture to the next on unwashed hands or used pipettes; they could ride from lab to lab on researchers’ coats and shoes, or through ventilation systems. And they were strong: if just one HeLa cell landed in a culture dish, it took over, consuming all the media and filling all the space.
Gartler’s findings did not go over well. In the fifteen years since George Gey had first grown HeLa, the number of published articles involving cell culture had more than tripled each year. Scientists had spent millions of dollars conducting research on those cells to study  the behavior of each tissue type, comparing one to another, testing the unique responses of different cell types to specific drugs, chemicals, or environments. If all those cells were in fact HeLa, it would mean that millions of dollars had been wasted, and researchers who’d found that various cells behaved differently in culture could have some explaining to do.

I think the part that really broke my heart, was getting to know Henrietta’s children, who for the most part didn’t get the chance to really know their mum. Children who for the longest while never even knew that scientists were doing research using their mother’s cells – and children who lived in a society where their mother’s cells might have made corporations millions of dollars, but they couldn’t afford health insurance and health care:

As we walked toward the front door of his building, Zakariyya turned to me. “Them doctors say her cells is so important and did all this and that to help people. But it didn’t do no good for her, and it don’t do no good for us. If me and my sister need something, we can’t even go see a doctor cause we can’t afford it. Only people that can get any good from my mother cells – they get rich off our mother and we got nothing.” He shook his head. “All those damn people didn’t deserve her help as far as I’m concerned.”

“I know my life could be better and I wish it was,” she told me. “When people hear about my mother cells they always say, ‘Oh y’all could be rich! Y’all gotta sue John Hopkin, y’all gotta do this and that.’ But I don’t want that.” She laughed. “Truth be told, I can’t get mad at science, because it helped people live, and I’d be a mess without it. I’m a walking drugstore! I can’t say nuthin bad about science, but I won’t lie, I would like some health insurance so I don’t got to pay all that money every month for drugs my mother cells probably helped make.”

Sonny had a quintuple bypass in 2003, when he was fifty-six years old – the last thing he remembered before falling unconscious under anesthesia was a doctor standing over him saying his mother’s cells were one of the most important things that had ever happened to medicine. Sonny woke up more than $125,000 in debt because he didn’t have health insurance to cover the surgery.

The bigger questions we are left with, are questions around ethicacy. Do we need to give our consent for our tissues to be used in research? Do we get to decide what kind of research? What about the profits, who gets to share in those? While I think most people would be happy to donate our cells to research, if we can help other people that way, it is a different question if you or your family can’t afford health care. Or if corporations are making such large profits from that research, that the results of the research only benefits the few and privileged.

When I tell people the story of Henrietta Lacks and her cells, their first question is usually Wasn’t it illegal for doctors to take Henrietta’s cells without her knowledge? Don’t doctors have to tell you when they use your cells in research? The answer is no – not in 1951, and not in 2009, when this book went to press.

There are, essentially, two issues to deal with: consent and money. For most people, knowing if and how their tissues are being used in research is a far bigger issue than profiting from them. Yet when this book went to press, storing blood and tissues for research did not legally require informed consent, because the law governing such things doesn’t generally apply to tissue research.

“You can’t ignore this issue of who gets the money and what the money is used for,” says Clayton. “I’m not sure what to do about it, but I’m pretty sure it’s weird to say everybody gets money except the people providing the raw material.”

I highly recommend The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and frankly think it should be required reading for everyone.

Have you read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and if so what did you think of it? Do you have any thoughts or comments on the ethical questions around tissue research?

Link Love (2015-08-22)

Thought-provoking

Why is self-sabotage a manifestation of the mother wound?

  • As a parentified daughter, the mother-bond (love, comfort and safety) was forged in an environment of self-suppression. (Being small = being loved)
  • Thus, there’s a subconscious link between mother-love and self-attenuation.
  • While your conscious mind may want success, happiness, love and confidence–the subconscious mind remembers the dangers of early childhood in which being big, spontaneous or authentic caused painful rejection from the mother.
  • To the sub-conscious mind: rejection by mother = death.
  • To the sub-conscious mind: self-sabotage (being small)  = safety (survival).

That’s why it can feel so hard to love ourselves, because letting go of shame, self-sabotage and guilt feels like letting go of mother. ” When Shame Feels Mothering: The Tragedy of Parentified Daughters – Womb of Light

A Way to Have Conversations That Will Lead to Deeper Relationships – Storyline

“The placebo effect often gets a negative connotation because if a new drug doesn’t work better than a placebo, then it doesn’t work. So, we tend to associate the placebo effect with things that don’t work. This mindset can be useful for testing new drugs, but it tends to hide an important message:
Placebo improvements are still real improvements. Those weren’t real steroids the athletes were given, but those were real gains that they made in the gym. Whether they lifted bigger weights because they actually took steroids or because they merely believed they took steroids, either way they lifted bigger weights.
If you believe something works, then it probably works. But not always for the reasons you thought.” The Power of Placebo: This Is What Happens When You Believe You’re Taking Steroids – James Clear

3 Subtle Signs It’s Time to See a Therapist – Psychology Today

“From the data they gathered, Gottman separated the couples into two major groups: themasters and the disasters. The masters were still happily together after six years. The disasters had either broken up or were chronically unhappy in their marriages. When the researchers analyzed the data they gathered on the couples, they saw clear differences between the masters and disasters. The disasters looked calm during the interviews, but their physiology, measured by the electrodes, told a different story. Their heart rates were quick, their sweat glands were active, and their blood flow was fast. Following thousands of couples longitudinally, Gottman found that the more physiologically active the couples were in the lab, the quicker their relationships deteriorated over time.” Masters of Love – The Atlantic

Religion

Robby Dawkins’ Faith Healing Was Faked, and We Can All Be Grateful For That – Ex-Communications

3. Jesus himself modeled disagreeing with the scriptures.  Jesus got into a lot of hot water for saying things like “You have heard it was said…but I say to you.”  He made a habit of quoting the Bible and then disagreeing with it.  As a Christian I was taught to see this as a privilege uniquely assigned to Jesus, but that only glosses over the fact that he’s still disagreeing with the Bible.  That’s kind of a big deal. Here’s a guy who is supposed to be a model for us in every way, and he’s sticking his neck out and flatly calling the Bible wrong, or at least outdated in one way or another.  He is suggesting there is a better way of thinking about things than what the scriptures of his day prescribed.  That’s pretty revolutionary, and to me it sounds a lot like what the liberals and progressives of Christianity are doing today.  He critically analyzed the ethical apparatus of his own religion and found it lacking, then he spoke up about it. That took a lot of nerve. When people do it today, they get the same kind of hatred that Jesus got from the guardians of orthodoxy in his day, less the concomitant Roman brutality.” The Absurdity of Inerrancy – Godless in Dixie

“Do you know what I’ve learned over the past half decade? When you stop obsessing over sex, it’s really not that big of a deal. There is no lifelong battle to be waged. It turns out that the guys who tend to be obsessed with sex are the ones obsessed with not thinking about it.” How Treating Sexual Thoughts as “Sin” Undermines Relationships – Love, Joy, Feminism

The Perils of Worshipping a Perfectionist God – Godless in Dixie

Equality

“Rape is horrifying and dehumanizing. It is the betrayal of what should be an intimate, connective act. It is a violent invasion. It is ultimately about power.
Our natural instinct is to look away when confronted with something that ugly — and that’s why it’s so important for our television shows to hold their gaze. What’s most striking about Orange Is the New Black’s treatment of rape, and what separates it from any other current TV show, is not Pennsatucky’s ordeal, which is all too common and which I’ll get to later, but director Jesse Peretz’s simple, bold decision to keep the camera close and steady on Manning’s face. The struggle is over, and she has lost. She is trapped in a box of the camera’s static frame, her head inching back-and-forth along the horizontal plane of the backseat of a prison van, a lone tear trailing down her cheek as her attacker thrusts from behind — greasy and grunting, dipping in and out of view. As long as she has no escape, as long as she must endure this horrible thing happening to her, we, the audience, will have no choice but to stay with her. She did not invite this. She did not deserve this. This is not her shame; it is ours.” OITNB Is the Only TV Show That Understands Rape – The Vulture

Never Stop Holding Hands: how love took on a monster and one – Consider the Tea Cosy

“I’VE INTERVIEWED A few celebrities in my day, but Laverne Cox is the first to mention “cis-normative, hetero-normative, imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy” within the first ten minutes. Or, you know, at all. By the time we’re done chatting in N.Y.C., I’m convinced that this actress, advocate, artist, thinker, producer, college speaker, “bell hooks-a-phile,” karaoke-slayer (more about that later) and trained dancer ought to add “intellectual badass” to her business card. Because while I entered our meeting as a starstruck fangirl, I left feeling like I’d been taken to church, school, and possibly intersectional feminist heaven. Quite plainly, the woman is a fucking whirlwind of smarts, beauty, and guts.” Laverne Cox Spills On Self-Acceptance, Finding Love & Battling the Patriarchy – BUST

Women Respond to to Nobel Laureate’s ‘Trouble With Girls’ – The New York Times

“Conservatives want to have it both ways. They argue that progressive support of welfare and affirmative action is racist in that it assumes that blacks need these things to succeed. Welfare and affirmative action take away from black agency and get in the way of black progress, they say, and are based in the racist assumption that African Americans are by nature dependent. Conservatives are, they say, all about restoring black agency and removing the chains of dependency—except, of course, when it comes to abortion. When it comes to abortion, African Americans’ agency and ability to make their own choices goes out the window as conservatives paint women of color as dupes participating in their own genocide.” Is Abortion an African-American Genocide? The Problem with Conservatives Citing Margaret Sanger – Love, Joy, Feminism

Beauty & Body Image

“The idea of being “too comfortable” is a fascinating one, really. Policing of comfort is likely linked to the distinctly Western fear of laziness, a state of being that we believe will descend if we spend our entire lives feeling relaxed in our bodies and minds. And while I still believe that dressing for occasions is a rewarding way to set certain events and experiences apart from the everyday, I’m beginning to think that letting people spend more time in their style and body comfort zones could lead to a happier, less anxious population.” Getting Comfortable – Already Pretty

“Much like taking self-portraits, it is one of those places where our inner dialouge comes up, which might make us feel like it is a danger-zone or a place of tenderness. But I believe that those are the same places, the same tools that can help us write a new story and to see ourselves with kindness…because they are so potent.  When we push past the inner critic, kindness does await us on the other side. ” Making Friends with Our Mirror – Be Your Own Beloved

Chronic Health & Illness

“5. “But you look so great.” This is not a beauty contest. Just because I look good in your opinion, look good today or was able to hide behind some good makeup, it doesn’t mean I am not in pain. Just because I can stand and chat today, it doesn’t mean I won’t be having problems getting out of bed tomorrow.

7. “Don’t worry, I am sure things will get better.” You can’t be sure. Yes, deep inside I am hoping the same. I am fighting and not giving up. But without knowing anything about my condition or knowing anything for certain, please, don’t throw such general comment on my way.” 13 Things to Never Say to People Who Suffer from Chronic Pain – Kat Gal – Huffington Post

Eight Key Lifestyle Habits to Support Adrenal Healing – Autoimmune Paleo

“Hypothalamic amenorrhea is the technical name for when the hypothalamus stops sending “go ahead and reproduce!” signals to the pituitary gland. This problem results in infertility, loss of the menstrual cycle, low libido, and many other disruptive symptoms. A staggering 10% of American women suffer from hypothalamic amenorrhea at some point in their lives.” Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Treatment: Everything You Need to Know – Paleo for Women

How Gut Health, PCOS and Fertility Are Connected – Health Light Balance

“A change is coming for endometriosis treatment. Until now, the clinical approach has been surgery followed by hormonal suppression with the Pill or other drugs. Going forward, the approach will shift to anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating treatments. There is growing evidence that endometriosis is not primarily a hormonal condition. It is autoimmune.” Endometriosis is an Autoimmune Disease – Lara Briden

Health

7 Ways to Practice Pleasure This Week – Chris Kresser

“Huffington’s new big idea is that in pursuit of ever-elusive markers of success, we are working ourselves to the point of burnout—that we’ve created a “sweat shop,” with ourselves starring as both the ruthless foremen and the aching workers.” Burnout: The Enemy of Sleep – The Atlantic

An 8 Second Meditation to Cure Anxiety – Over the Moon Magazine

“That old lady with the limp who claims she can predict the weather might be telling the truth because human joints contain sensory nerves called baro-receptors, which are highly attuned to fluctuations in atmospheric pressure, particularly the drops that occur when a rainstorm is about to touch down. It may not be true for everyone, though, as one review concluded that “pain in some individuals is more affected by the weather than others.”
So while it may not be the bones acting as barometers, some folks can definitely feel the weather in their joints.” 7 True Old Wives’ Tales – Mark’s Daily Apple

Hidden Sources of BPA Exposure in Food, Cans and Plastics – Wellness Mama

Today’s mantra: Do I (really) need my traps for that?
I know everyone wants “the corrective exercise” they can do to make their shoulders all better, but instead I challenge you to use your shoulder joint (instead of your spine and scapula) throughout the day. If you apply the little lesson on shoulder stabilization above to the many zillions of things you do throughout the day, you’ll find your shoulders get better much more rapidly than just doing one or two sets of a particular exercise a day. Here are some suggestions on where to look for (and eliminate) that shoulder hike created by the trapezius muscle, which runs between the spine and the shoulder blade.” Want traps with that? – Katy Says

Dealing with Periods of Intense Stress – Whole9

Recipes

Infused Waters to Keep You Hydrated this Summer – Tasty Yummies

Beef heart and oxtail stew (Paleo, AIP) – Paleo Pumpkin

Strawberry Basil Chicken Flatbread (AIP/Paleo) – Sweet Potatoes and Social Change

How to Make Arugula Pesto – Foodie Crush

Orange & Rose Honey Cake – Autoimmune Paleo

Matheson’s Mandarin Cake – Joanna Frankham

Chocolate Banana Bread (Egg-Free) – The Paleo Mom

August 2015 – Quick Reviews

The past month has been great for reading, and I’ve gotten through several excellent and important books.

Reviews

the constant princessThe Constant Princess (The Tudor Court Series) by Philippa Gregory: Enjoyable enough if you like historical fiction (which I do).

how to be sickHow to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers by Toni Bernhard: Highly recommended to everyone dealing with a chronic illness or pain – full of useful tools to cope. Written from a Buddhist perspective, but I’d highly recommend it regardless of your beliefs. (Full review)

The Giddy Death of the Gays and the Strange Demise of StraightsThe Giddy Death of the Gays and the Strange Demise of the Straights by Redfern Jon Barrett: I’ve previously reviewed Forget Yourself, and I loved The Giddy Death of the Gays and the Strange Demise of the Straights. Barrett does not only have an especially gorgeous way of putting words together, he also writes about thought-provoking and important topics, for example the possibility of being romantically attracted to people you aren’t sexually attracted to, as well as polyamorous relationships. Highly recommmended (full review to follow).

not a starNot a Star by Nick Hornby: This short novella was a disappointment for me. While finding out your son is a porn star could’ve been interesting, I never got to care about any of the characters.

the life-changing magic of tidying upThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising by Marie Kondo: I was late to the party, but like most other people I really enjoyed reading about the KonMari method. Yes, you do have to take certain parts of the book with a grain of salt, but it is incredibly thought-provoking and inspirational. Highly recommended.

never too lateNever Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way) by Claire Cook: Never Too Late is okay, although I didn’t find much new information here.

life below stairsLife Below Stairs: True Lives of Edwardian Servants by Alison Maloney: Clearly marketed towards the fans of Downton Abbey (among which I include myself). Life Below Stairs is a fairly short, but enjoyable read and I recommend it those who are interested in Edwardian history.

the immortal life of henrietta lacksThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot: One of the best books I have read this year. The story of Henrietta Lacks, and the cells they took from her (better known as HeLa cells) is important to know and rises important questions around consent and ethics in research, but also around racial inequality and poverty. Full review here, but if you haven’t already you need to read this book.

As always, I’m linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy.

What have you been reading lately?
As always I invite you to find me and connect with me on Goodreads.

Link Love (2015-08-15)

Thought-provoking

“Briggs titled the film Present Perfect, because it speaks to the idea that these two groups of people — preschoolers and the elderly — only have a few years to overlap in their lives. The preschoolers have their whole lives ahead of them and virtually no experiences, the elderly have rich histories and only a few years left. They come together to share that unique time in one’s life — the beginning and the end. It’s such a beautiful idea.” This Is What Happens When You Put a Preschool in a Nursing Home – Scary Mommy

It’s Not Your Relationship That’s Abusive, It’s Your Partner – Here’s Why That Distinction Matters – Everyday Feminism

“Reading in general helps with empathy, but literary reading amplifies this effect. By reading a challenging book, you’re not only becoming a smarter person, you’re also become more empathetic. Literature is not always easy, but by attempting to tackle harder books, we create new connections in our minds that we might not have otherwise.
Like opening a window to let fresh air into your home, literature opens up our minds to the myriad ideas that we wouldn’t be able to experience on our own! So after you finish your magazine or paperback thriller, reflect on its contents. Take a moment to analyze the experiences depicted as if they were your own. And in choosing your next book, make it a tough one.” Are You Reading the Wrong Books? What Science Is Saying About Fiction Readers – The Literacy Site Blog

Morning Habits that Are Killing Your Daily Productivity – Medium

“But ultimately, we trust the leaves. We trust our eyeballs. The plant is thriving or it’s not. It’s healthy or it’s not. Our efforts are working or they’re not.
We never think to ourselves “This plant is defective because it isn’t thriving in the spot Google SAID IT SHOULD THRIVE.” We don’t just keep forcing a certain arrangement because it “SHOULD” work. We can see plainly that it isn’t working. Who cares what the plant book says?” When did we start trusting “experts” over our own eyeballs? – Renegade Mothering

The Economics of Tidying Up – The Atlantic

Equality

“It began when Kallio found a lump on his breast just three months after a mammogram. He had a second mammogram, then a biopsy and, when weeks went by without receiving any test results, he just assumed everything was fine. That changed when he suddenly got a phone call from the doctor who performed his biopsy — and who was not his primary physician.
“She said to me, ‘Hi, I was just curious how you were doing with your diagnosis.’ And I said, ‘What diagnosis?’ She sort of spurted, ‘[Your doctor] hasn’t called you yet?'” Kallio remembered.” This Trans Man’s Breast Cancer Nightmare Exemplifies the Problem With Transgender Health Care – Huffington Post

“Perhaps we should divide bathrooms by sexual orientation rather than by gender identity. You get to choose the bathroom of the gender you are not sexually attracted to. (This becomes a bit of a problem for bisexuals.) Or maybe we could, you know, just acknowledge that bathrooms are places where people go to relieve themselves, and not places they go to try out their pickup lines?” Minnesota Senator Forgets Lesbians Exist – Love, Joy, Feminism

“For example: More than a dozen women had accused Bill Cosby of drugging and assaulting them before Hannibal Burgess’s comments brought the issue into the national spotlight last year. And as the list of women who’ve come forward with disturbingly similar accounts has ballooned since then — toping 25 publicly and 48 privately at this point — there’s remained a subset of resolute Cosby defenders who are holding out for “proof” — real evidence, ya know, not just the testimony of dozens of women over 40 years.” Bill Cosby admitted he got drugs to rape women – now can we believe it? – Feministing

“But wait! Didn’t Starnes say there was a gag order? Isn’t telling the Kleins they can’t talk about their beliefs a violation of their freedom of speech? Isn’t that separate from the issue of denying service to same-sex couples? No, actually, because the judge did not in fact bar the Kleins from talking about their beliefs, he only barred them from advertising that their bakery will not serve gay couples. Because, as we know, refusing service based on sexual orientation is against Oregon law.” The Truth about the Sweet Cakes Bakery Gag Order – Love, Joy, Feminism

Inspirational

“And that got me thinking about this: what if fearlessness is important not as a goal to work toward, but as an indicator of what your soul longs for?
Fearlessness is not something to achieve. It’s something to pay attention to, when we are graced by it.” On Fearlessness – Tara Sophia Mohr

6 Benefits of Practising Mindfulness Outside of Meditation – Psychology Today

But it’s all a lie, and I know that. It’s the lie the patriarchy has been telling us for hundreds of years to keep us silent and to keep us from changing the accepted structures and heirarchy. It’s a lie we’ve been fed again and again, since childhood, and we don’t know how to change it because we’ve received so many wounds over it, we’ve learned to hide our hearts and keep our deepest loves secret.
Imagine if we could rise out of the shame and the fear and truly believe in what we love to do.” That thing you love to do? It is not trivial. – Heather Plett

Chronic Illness & Pain

“Sure, it’s super easy to slap a “defect” sticker on your chest and go cry in the corner. Hating yourself is about as natural as all the other symptoms of chronic illness — weight gain, constant pain, fatigue — but this is (maybe) one of the only symptoms you can wake up and shake off every day. Go to therapy. Learn to cope a little more every day. Making peace with your disease is something you have to do because…” 5 Ways You’re Not ‘Living’ With Chronic Illness – Huffington Post

Clutter and Depression – Declutter Your House

“I’ve done my share of denying that I’m chronically ill. It’s tempting to pretend that I’m as healthy as can be, but when I ignore my limitations by staying out too long or by insisting on engaging in activities that are beyond my energetic abilities, invariably, I land in bed for days. And so, I’m working on giving up pretending. It’s not good for me physically or emotionally.” Denial Only Makes Chronic Pain and Illness Worse – Psychology Today

Has Antibiotic Overuse Caused A Celiac Disease Epidemic? – Chris Kresser

“In a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist. That such vessels could have escaped detection when the lymphatic system has been so thoroughly mapped throughout the body is surprising on its own, but the true significance of the discovery lies in the effects it could have on the study and treatment of neurological diseases ranging from autism to Alzheimer’s disease to multiple sclerosis.” Researchers Find Missing Link Between the Brain and Immune System – Neuroscience News

Health

Healthy Habit Challenge #1 – Relax Your Pelvic Floor – Movement Revolution

“You might think, then, that fluoridated water’s efficacy as a cavity preventer would be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. But new research suggests that assumption is dramatically misguided; while using fluoridated toothpaste has been proven to be good for oral health, consuming fluoridated water may have no positive impact. ” Fluoridation May Not Prevent Cavities, Scientific Review Shows – Newsweek

Confessions of a Calorie Counter: 3 Steps for Intuitive Eating – Health Light Balance

“If you’re new to barefoot shoes you might like to to check out some of the links in the resources section first to get a bit of background.  I particularly like this article which describes the five key features to look for in barefoot shoes, and this one which has some more information about how to transition safely into barefoot shoes.” Best women’s barefoot walking shoes – baredsoles

Find the right “gentle routine” for your skin! – Real Food Liz

“I’ve very passionate about the necessity of sleep for health. In the last 50 years, the average amount of time that Americans sleep each night has decreased by 1.5–2 hours. That’s a staggering amount of sleep—equivalent to a full month of continuous sleep every year—that we need but are not getting. From what we know about how lack of sleep affects our brains, hormones, and immune system, this may be the single greatest contributor to chronic illness in general. That’s right, sleep, and not diet. Not activity level. Not stress. Sleep.” Sleep Requirements and Debt: How do you know how much sleep you need? – The Paleo Mom

Vitamin K2: 9 Uses and Benefits – Wellness Mama

Recipes

Iced Honey Matcha (AIP/Paleo) – It’s Me, Charlotte!

15 low-FODMAP AIP breakfasts – petra8paleo

Cream of Avocado Soup with Crab Meat – Autoimmune Paleo

Blueberry Mint Aqua Fresca – The Blenderist

Iced Green Tea with Mint & Ginger – The Kitchn

Peach Cucumber Salad Recipe – Wellness Mama

How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers – Toni Bernhard

How to Be Sick is “how to live a life of equanimity and joy despite my physical and energetic limitations.”

Continue reading

The Health Update I Promised You All

I have been promising you all a health update for quite a while.
It’s difficult for me to talk about these things, because there are so many different, interconnected pieces. It’s so easy to get lost, jumping from one topic to the next – but I’ll do my best to keep things straight.

Current Health Issues

As you’re probably aware, I’ve been dealing with a lot of health issues over the past 9-10 months, seeing lots of different doctors. Each of these doctors have sent me through a variety of tests, leading to the (current) list of diagnoses:

  • Inflammatory arthritis (currently being treated as rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)
  • Chronic headaches / migraines
  • Celiac Disease
  • Endometriosis
  • Eczema
  • Allergies
  • Anxiety (cause who wouldn’t be anxious when dealing with such a list of health issues)

The symptoms of these various diseases overlap, making it pretty damn difficult to figure out what disease is causing what symptom – and how to best treat it.
Personally, I think it’s likely that there are deeper, underlying causes and issues expressing themselves in different ways.

My GP believes that all (or most) of these issues are autoimmune in nature and my rheumatologist thinks that I am the kind of person who is very sensitive to all (most) kinds of stimuli, such as light, noises, smells, stress, etc. and that my body is currently so overstimulated that it’s reacting strongly to everything.

As previously mentioned on the blog all of these health issues began (or flared up) after my surgery last fall. My work was incredibly supportive and went above and beyond, what I could expect from any company.
I first worked part time, then had to go on full time sick leave back in March and finally had to be let go by the end of May.
While I wish circumstances were different, I have no doubt that right now this is the right thing for me to be able to focus completely on my health.

It’s Not All Bad

Freya as a tiny puppy

Freya as a tiny puppy

While this part year has, without a doubt, been the most difficult, challenging and painful year of my life (so far), things are not all bad:

My partner David has been incredibly supportive of me, every step of the way. Even going so far as physically looking after me on the days when I am unable to do so myself. I am so incredibly grateful to have him in my life. When I became too sick to work, he asked me to marry him and got me a puppy (both things, which we had previously discussed).

Freya is very playful

Freya is very playful

Freya, our adorable Yorkshire Terrier, lights up my day-to-day life. She gently pushes me to go out for walks, when I might not have bothered to do so “just” for me. She’s incredibly bright – albeit a little monster at times: her favourite things are to lick faces and chase her toys (which she will thoroughly “kill” before handing them back to you). She’s my therapy dog, can always tell when I’m feeling unwell and her puppy cuddles make everything better.

(For more pictures of Freya + my daily life feel free to follow me on Instagram).

Plans for the Blog

My blog is going to be dealing with more “serious” topics going forward.
It’s important to me, that I write about the things that I’m currently dealing with; the stuff that takes up my time and my thoughts.

It won’t be a negative space though. It’s my hope to share practical information on some of these illnesses that (most) people might not be familiar with, as well as the tools that I’m currently using to help me manage my life.

I hope you’ll stick around.

Let me know if you have any thoughts, questions or health issues of your own – I would love to hear from you.

Thanks,
Rebekka

Link Love (2015-08-08)

Thought-provoking

How to Focus in Open Office Settings – Bulletproof Executive

“Work is really three things, says Peter Frase, the author of Four Futures, a forthcoming book about how automation will change America: the means by which the economy produces goods, the means by which people earn income, and an activity that lends meaning or purpose to many people’s lives. “We tend to conflate these things,” he told me, “because today we need to pay people to keep the lights on, so to speak. But in a future of abundance, you wouldn’t, and we ought to think about ways to make it easier and better to not be employed.”” A World Without Work – The Atlantic

The complete and logical guide to winning at your own life in 19 super difficult steps – Dispatches from Paul Jarvis – Medium

“The novelist and scholar Umberto Eco once bemoaned the fact that many visitors to his home, seeing his vast personal library, can’t help but exclaim: “What a lot of books! Have you read them all?” His jaw stiffens: the question implies that his floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are for showing off, when actually they’re a research tool. Unread books are where the action is. The writer Nassim Taleb approvingly calls such a collection an “antilibrary”; one’s shelves, he argues, should contain “as much of what you do not know” as finances allow. And don’t expect the proportion of unread books to fall, either. The more you read, the more the perimeter of your knowledge increases, and the more you’ll realise you don’t know. (Incidentally, Eco’s deadpan response to his visitors’ question is, “No, these are the ones I have to read by the end of the month. I keep the others in my office.”)” What unread books can teach us – The Guardian

The 25 Most Influential Marriages of All Time – TIME

Religion

“They trumpet their rules as universal moral absolutes, blissfully unaware that the very rules they champion have changed many times over the centuries because sexual norms are cultural constructs.  If there is such a thing as “biblical marriage,” it involves potentially multiple wives (depending on the income of the husband) and up to several concubines as well.  The New Testament church did far less to change that norm than did the dominance of Roman culture during that era. They like to tell themselves these aren’t their rules, they’re God’s rules; so they can’t be questioned, and they never change.  That shows a deplorable lack of reflectiveness and critical thinking on this subject.” The Church Doesn’t Get to Make the Rules About Sex Anymore – Godless in Dixie

Equality

But here’s the thing: Calling a woman a “girl” isn’t okay.
When we call women “girls,” we’re using the force of language to make them smaller. We resist and deny their maturity, their adulthood, and their true power.
When you call a woman a “girl,” you’re actually saying a lot of very serious things about gender politics and womanhood.
This is a call to action. We need to actually start using “women” when that’s what we mean. Because when we refer to women as “girls,” this is what we’re doing.” Calling Grown Women ‘Girls’ Is Sexist As Hell – Here Are 4 Reasons Why – Everyday Feminism

True Story: My 8-Year-Old Daughter Dresses Exclusively Like a Boy – Yes and Yes

“Legislation to prevent schools and hospitals discriminating against current or future employees because of their sexuality will be in place by summer.” Legislation on school and hospital stuff to be amended – Irish Times

Books about women less likely to win prizes, study finds – The Guardian

“By saying “forgo girly things for things that will get you interested in engineering” we’re saying “if you want to be girly, you cannot also be a technology creator, an inventor, and a world changer”. We’re teaching girls to change who they are in order to effect change as an adult.” Papas, please let your babies grow up to be princesses – Medium

What’s Wrong with Cultural Appropriation? These 9 Answers Reveal Its Harm – Everyday Feminism

Beauty & Body Image

“Then along came cellphones with built-in cameras. And blogs and Facebook and Twitter. Suddenly, you weren’t just that one tiny picture, you were every picture anyone might happen to want to snap, and to post and pin and share, images that would be tweeted and retweeted, scrutinized and commented upon and invoked to dismiss you as jealous, overweight, bitter, sexually frustrated and, maybe, illogically, also a sexually promiscuous hag. For some critics, a woman’s looks remain the first place they’ll go when they disagree with her opinions.” The Pressure to Look Good – The New York Times

Why I Dropped Out of a Weight Loss Competition that I Was Winning – Health Light Balance

“It’s easy for people to roll their eyes at selfies and make jokes about girls who just want attention, but the truth is that for lots of women – especially women of colour, trans women, disabled women and all the other women who see their existences erased in mainstream media – posting pictures of themselves is a way of challenging our culture’s narrow beauty standards.” An Open Letter to All of My Friends Who Take Selfies – The Belle Jar

Inspirational

“Yes, there is a lot of joy and love and so many blessings in each of our lives too. But it feels like someone is whispering in my ear: Tara, what you used to think of difficult crises, extreme circumstances, are in fact, entirely ordinary parts of adulthood. This incarnation is not for the faint of heart.” Growing up – Tara Sophia Mohr

“You have to tell people what you’re interested in.” – Modern Mrs Darcy

“We do not owe anyone our intrigue. We don’t have to keep living a life we’re finished with just because it looks good on the internet.” You don’t owe anyone your pretty (or your intrigue or your ambition, for that matter) – Yes and Yes

Chronic Illness & Pain

Why Can’t Scientists Figure Out Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? – Psychology Today

“Sometimes I get so caught up in my role as a provider that I forget to go out, to take a breather, to do what I need to do to be healthy. I forget that I’m allowed to enjoy myself; I forget that I’m allowed to step back and nourish myself.
Self-care is so important, regardless of what you’re going through, but it is vital for anyone who is trying to act as a caregiver in any capacity.” 5 Lessons I’ve Learned As the Partner of Someone with an Invisible Disability – Everyday Feminism

Supplements and the Autoimmune Protocol – Autoimmune Paleo

“One of the many challenges that people face when adopting a paleo diet is dealing with the confounding factor of additional food sensitivities.  Sometimes these sensitivities are known (perhaps you had allergy testing done at some point or react so violently to certain foods that it was a no-brainer).  Sometimes these sensitivities are unknown and make it frustrating when we don’t experience the instant improvements to our health touted by so many paleo enthusiasts.  One such sensitivity is FODMAP-intolerance (also referred to as fructose malabsorption).  This isn’t a food sensitivity in the sense that there is any sort of immune reaction to these foods.  Instead, it is a case of a person who cannot properly digest the fructose (and longer sugar molecules containing fructose) in these foods.” Modifying Paleo for FODMAP-Intolerance (a.k.a. Fructose Malabsorption) – The Paleo Mom

3 Tips for Dealing with a New Diagnosis – Sweet Potatoes and Social Change

Health

Vitamin D Deficiency? How to Naturally Support Your Body – Health Light Balance

“Scientists in Sweden are launching their own mead — an alcoholic beverage made from a fermented mix of honey and water — based on old recipes they say could help in the fight against antibiotic resistance.” This ancient liquor popular among Vikings may be the answer to antibiotic resistance – Ancientfoods

Is Raw Milk Better? – Mark’s Daily Apple

“Barber explains the motivation behind the idea: “What’s powerful about this idea is that it is accessible to anyone. What should I do with vegetable peels? Or broccoli cores? Or bones? Those are questions that any eater or home cook can ask. And, more often than not, you can find delicious solutions as long as you’re willing to invest a little time and creativity in the kitchen.”” How to Reduce Kitchen Waste – Bon Appetit 

Action Steps to Relieve Neck & Shoulder Pain – Fit for Real Life

“Given the extent to which bacteria are now understood to influence human psychology, it is hardly surprising that scientists have turned their attention to how bacteria might affect the brain. Micro-organisms in our gut secrete a profound number of chemicals, and researchers like Lyte have found that among those chemicals are the same substances used by our neurons to communicate and regulate mood, like dopamine, serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). These, in turn, appear to play a function in intestinal disorders, which coincide with high levels of major depression and anxiety. Last year, for example, a group in Norway examined feces from 55 people and found certain bacteria were more likely to be associated with depressive patients.” Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood? – The New York Times

10 Best Plants to Grow Indoors for Air Purification – True Activist

Recipes

Carrot Green Chimichurri Recipe – Love and Lemons

Better Than Takeout: Homemade Chinese Fried Rice – Neo-Homesteading

Blueberry Cobbler (AIP/Paleo) – Sweet Potatoes and Social Change

Spiced Butter Tea – Nourished Kitchen

Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe (from the Paleo Takeout Cookbook) – Mommypotamus

Thai Green Curry – The Paleo Mom

Link Love (2015-08-01)

Thought-provoking

The Moral Bucket List – The New York Times

“So while we accept that we men are all complex and multifaceted individuals, we let that imagined hive-mind in our heads represent those others in their entirety… and we react to them accordingly. When we let that monolith occupy our minds, it becomes our de facto filter for interacting with others in reality. When you have a belief about the collective entity known as WOMEN, everything you do involving women gets passed through the filter of those pre-existing beliefs. Confirmation bias ends up kicking in and you discard everything that doesn’t fall in line with the image you believe in already. As a result, you often end up reacting to the entity in your head, rather than to the person right in front of you. By passing that person’s words and behavior through your mental filter you are assuming facts and motivations that may well not be there at all. It’s impossible to relate to somebody when you’re too busy responding to what you think they’re saying. When you’ve decided that all pretty women are snobby, stuck up Queen Bees (because Debbie Harper was an asshole to you in high-school when you asked her out and her friends couldn’t stop laughing about it and screw you Debbie, I bet you peaked in your Junior year and now you’re stuck with your lazy ex-jock no job having husband in Beaumont GOD DAMN IT DEBBIE WHY WASN’T I GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU YOU STUCK UP LITTLE… ahem), you end up coming in on the defensive, seeing everything as a potential slight and insult.” Why Is It So Hard to Be a Good Man? – Dr NerdLove

The 5 Characteristics of Couples That Last – Aligned Holistics

“These are all real things said to me in the last year, except for the last one which I suspect is probably just stuck in my spam filter.
Here’s the deal. I just can’t. I can’t use this blog to tell you that testing makeup on animals is bad or that if we don’t reduce our carbon footprint our children will suffer the consequences. I don’t have the stamina or willpower to denounce every shitty thing in the world that I assume everyone else here already agrees with. I don’t have the strength to write about ISIS and kidnappings and poverty and children starving and bombs and other terrible things because I know I will become fixated and depressed and unable to function. I know my limits and I know that without self-care I will fall into those dark holes of depression where I’m no help to anyone.
And I’m okay with that because I don’t have to tell you that Nazis are bad and mass murderers are fuckheads and that racism is bullshit and suicide should be avoided and rape is shitty and water is wet and cats will scratch you if given enough time. This is all common sense. If I have to say this out loud for you to get those things then you are in the wrong place. Mostly because I’m typing and so I can’t say anything out loud, but also because if you know me, you already know these things. We may disagree on the finer points. I may have a looser definition of what it means to be a feminist. I’m in the middle ground when it comes to gun control so if I ever decide I’m educated enough to have a salient point of view worth sharing out loud we may disagree. I suspect I view racism as being more of a problem than the average American (or average white Southerner at least) and occasionally I’ll say something about it and lose followers…both those who are angry that I believe racism is systemic and deep-seated, and those who agree but who are mad that I don’t say even more. And that’s okay. Sometimes they come back, later, with open minds and less fear or anger. Sometimes they are replaced by others who are here to laugh and smile at the ridiculousness that comes out of my head. Sometimes (mostly) it’s read and then forgotten. Just one tiny voice in a world that won’t shut up. In a world so busy speaking that it can’t hear.” This is my house – The Bloggess

How to Stop Worrying – Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Religion

On Josh Duggar:
What You Need to Know About the Josh Duggar Report – Love, Joy, Feminism
Josh Duggar and the Tale of Two Boxes – Love, Joy, Feminism
Why Josh Duggar’s “Teenage Mistakes” Matter – Love, Joy, Feminism
How Josh Duggar is getting away with it – Defeating Dragons
Josh Duggar says he’s sorry. So what? – The Life and Opinions of Kathryn Elizabeth, Person
Why Did We Make the Duggars Famous in the First Place? – Cosmopolitan
Josh Duggar’s Lies, Damn Lies, and Half Truths – Love, Joy, Feminism
3 Things the Josh Duggar Scandal Reveals About Christian Patriarchy – Ex-Communications
Are the Duggars Victims of Christian Persecution – Love, Joy, Feminism
Josh was “Just Curious about Girls” and the Rank Hypocrisy of the Duggar Excuse Machine – Love, Joy, Feminism

Equality

Debunking the ‘Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps Myth’ – Everyday Feminism

“If there are any parallels to today’s situation, common sense would dictate that the current SCOTUS did what the previous one did not: They observed the winds of change among public opinion as it relates to a class of people (this time it’s the LGBT community instead of people of African descent) and ruled that treating them differently from everyone else isn’t fair. Some still oppose this, yes, but the general consensus among Americans appears to have shifted in the direction of affording its LGBT citizens the same rights as everyone else. Our current Supreme Court did the opposite of what the court of 1857 did: They ruled that LGBTs deserve the same rights and considerations as everyone else. Huckabee and company are trying to get that reversed. They are standing on the same side as the 1857 court they so repetitively disparage. When confronted with a question of basic human rights, the 1857 SCOTUS kicked the matter back to the states to decide instead of settling the issue once and for all. That’s the very thing the conservative pundits today are suggesting the Supreme Court should have done with regards to same-sex marriage.” Why Dred Scott Is the Dumbest Analogy You Could Use Right Now – Godless in Dixie

3 Ways to Lovingly Talk to Your In-Laws (or Anyone, for that Matter) About That Hella Oppressive Thing They Just Said – Everyday Feminism

“Throughout my life, I’ve experienced white privilege by proxy. By surrounding myself with rich white people I have gained access to a lot of relief, food, education, clothes, you name it — just because I was near them.  This isn’t new by any means.  The house slave was often treated better than the field slave, and so the domestic servant is treated better than the migrant worker in the fields, and so it has passed on through the Latino and Afro-Caribbean diasporas in the United States.  I didn’t understand as a child why my father was so relieved to hear my mother had found work in a wealthy white woman’s home.  My mother had a degree – she was a certified accountant in El Salvador.  But here she was, grateful to have a job working closely with a white family that would treat her a lot like the nanny-dog in Disney’s “Peter Pan.”   It took a while for me to understand.” Castoffs and leftovers: The mixed benefits of working for a white family – Salon

Need Help Dealing with Trolls? These Feminists Have 5 Ideas – Everyday Feminism

Beauty & Body Image

If You Think the Dad Bod Phenomenon Is Championing Body-Positivity, Think Again – Here Are 3 Big Reasons We Need to Stop Praising It Now – Everyday Feminism

“You have a body. You may not like it, you may not want it to matter, you may want to distance yourself from it in every possible way, but you cannot deny that as a human being, you have a body. Without that body, other parts of your essential self that you might value and cherish – your kindness, intellect, achievements, creativity, passion, strength, power, insight, talent – would have no home, no base, no medium in which to grow and thrive. Without your body, your non-body identity couldn’t exist.
And since you have a body and as long you’re alive you will always have a body, creating a positive, supportive, nurturing relationship with that body is NOT a waste of your time and energy. Making decisions about how you want to dress or look puts you in touch with your body, teaches you about its shape, and can help you express some of your inner self to the outer world. Each person must approach this relationship in her own way and choose to filter out opinions and advice that feel inauthentic or corrosive. And that may mean avoiding style guidelines, limiting exposure to strongly worded writing about the importance of body love, a media fast. But although your looks should not and do not define your entire worth, you still have a body. And although the conflicting messages about the importance of physical beauty can be painful and confusing, you still have a body. And that body is not separate from your essential self. It is enmeshed with all aspects of your identity.
You have a body. You always will. So it certainly couldn’t hurt to make peace with it.” You Have a Body – Already Pretty

Ready to Heal Your Relationship with Yourself in Eating Disorder Recovery? Try the 5 (Body) Love Languages – Everyday Feminism

Inspirational

The Oddly Obvious Thing I Need to Be Reminded Of – Yes and Yes

“At the root of what many of us are seeking in our lives is a desire for greater ease. Often, however, we confuse the word “ease” with the word “easier”. We think that the more we show up to coaching, the more books we read, the more we journal, and the more we immerse ourselves in personal development, the easier our lives will become.
In doing so, we miss the point.” Level Up: The Difference Between a Life of Ease and an Easy Life – Becoming Who You Are

A Guide for Emotionally Sensitive People – Tiny Buddha

Chronic Illness & Pain

Warm Water Therapy – Arthritis Foundation

“People quickly form judgments around labels, including those given to many medical conditions. If the label for an illness uses language such as “fatigue,” we abstract from our experience and think we know what it’s like to suffer from it.
The trend is to name illnesses and pain conditions by describing their primary signs or symptoms. There may be sound reasons for this trend, but it can lead to inaccurate labeling of people and to unnecessary suffering by those who’ve been diagnosed with the disorder or disease.” A Plea for Truth in Labeling of Medical Conditions – Psychology Today

10 Ways to Lift Your Spirits, Cope & Calm Chronic Pain – The Princess in the Tower

Health

Folate vs Folic Acid – How to Avoid a Dangerous Pregnancy – Paleo for Women

It’s good for our relationships – there’s just something about a long walk that leads to a long talk. Before we started walking my husband and I did much of our catching up while sharing the front seat of the minivan, but that isn’t really conducive to a family talk and, quite frankly, it isn’t really as romantic when it is just the two of us. Give me holding hands and strolling down Main Street over fighting traffic any day.” Why we walk – Simple Kids

Know Someone with Food Allergies? Here Are 6 Things to Avoid Saying to Them – Everyday Feminism

Getting in shape is no different. Every time we try to get fit and fail, we learn a little bit more about how the controls work. Maybe we lost a few pounds with strategy A, but failed with strategy B. If we go to the gym for a few weeks and give up, when we come back next time we are familiar with the inner workings, and don’t need to get over the fear of exercising in a public place like the first time.
Each time you start over, you’re getting closer to that point of making things stick.” Why Having to Start Over – AGAIN – Is Great – Nerd Fitness

Natural & Organic Baby Formula Options – Wellness Mama

“The truth is, we’re heavily influenced by the impulses of our evolutionary wiring, but that doesn’t mean we’re helpless against them. Our lucky species developed a reflexive thinking capacity – the ability to observe our own mental states, our own cognitive processes and emotional responses. In short, we can – when we’re willing – observe our own thoughts and motivations with a degree of objectivity.
So, while our primal inclinations are always a factor, they aren’t the only factor – or even necessarily the voice that wins out. In this context, the benefit of understanding our evolutionary default is that we don’t have to do it all the time. We have more options – and can consciously distinguish the underlying sources of our choices.” How Does Ancient Wisdom Intersect with a Primal Perspective? – Mark’s Daily Apple

20 Things You Didn’t Know About Paleo – Chris Kresser

Recipes

Paleo Flour Tortillas (AIP-friendly) – The Paleo Mom

Chocolate Espresso Irish Moss Pudding – Mark’s Daily Apple

Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto and Burrata Recipe – Food52

AIP Breakfast Smoothie – Sweet Potatoes and Social Change 

Paleo (& Nut-Free) Crispy Chicken Tenders – Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

Grain Free French Bread – Health Starts in the Kitchen

Link Love (2015-07-26)

Thought-provoking

How a Dog Actually “Sees” the World Through Smell – Brain Pickings

“I’ve written before about toxic and abusive relationships before, but one of the keys is simply: how do you feel about your partner? Do you feel like you can never do anything right and that they’re always blaming you for things that go wrong? Are they always undermining you, cutting you down, reminding you of how useless you are or how you should be grateful that you’re with them? Do you feel like you have to apologize for them to others because they “don’t understand”? Do they make you constantly question your own judgement and worry that you’re overreacting or making too much out of an issue? Are you afraid of them? These are all signs of abuse. You know this. Your own Spidey-sense was telling you this was a bad scene. But let’s be honest here: it’s understandable that you brushed off your own alarm bells. Women are socialized constantly to question their own judgement, to believe their instincts are wrong and to give people the benefit of the doubt.” Ask Dr NerdLove: How Do I Know When It’s Abuse?

My [22/F] boyfriend [25/M] is hiding all my stuff and I have no idea why – Relationships – Reddit

“I’ll list here Marie Kondo’s most significant rules, but I do encourage you to pick up the book (downloading means no additional physical clutter) or get it from the library, because her Eastern philosophy is critical to understanding why the rules work and why they make sense (and will seem a bit wacky to some Westerners). Her book also helps with the emotions around decluttering things like gifts people have given you, or important paperwork.” The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Psychology Today

21 Surprising Statistics that Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own – Becoming Minimalist

“Wash by hand or run the dishwasher? Spouses and roommates have long been divided over the question of which uses more water and electricity. And it’s just complex enough to make for a good argument among those inclined to debate the issue. The short answer is that running a new Energy Star dishwasher loaded to capacity is the best, most efficient method of doing the dishes. It’s also the least time-consuming. But efficient hand-washing is a close second in terms of electricity and water use, particularly if your only other option is to use an older machine. And whether or not you own a dishwasher, you can clean your plates more efficiently by scraping rather than rinsing. Read on for the full details.” The Great Dishwasher Debate – NRDC

5 Insane Statistics on the Challenges Facing Millenials – All Groan Up

Equality

8 Things You Should Never Say to an Asexual Person – Everyday Feminism

“Let’s try for one more premise, shall we? Let’s make the assumption that science makes its best progress when it has the widest pool of possible scientists to pick its best people from. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If everyone who could be a scientist has the chance to be, and will have their talents nurtured if they make that choice, then it’s far more likely that our pool of scientists will be as good as it can possibly be. Every time we narrow down that pool of potential, we cut ourselves off from people who could do good and important work, and bring something unique to the endeavour.” – Tim Hunt has resigned. This is good. This is not about revenge. – Consider the Tea Cosy

Discrimination against students of color rampant in Louisiana school district – Southern Poverty Law Center

“Some studies have shown that upwards of 90% of victims of revenge porn are women. And while it’s absolutely essential that any victim, regardless of gender, can get justice, the gender breakdown of this phenomenon points to something more sinister at play.
The viewing of women’s bodies as objects and commodities, as well as the tendency to shame women for their sexuality, largely plays into the targeting of women through cyber sex crimes like revenge porn.” 6 Reasons Why Revenge Porn Is Really F*cked Up (And How One Woman Is Pushing Back) – Everyday Feminism

Beauty & Body Image

“Selfies are often criticized as the ultimate expression of narcissism, but I approach them as self-portraits, unstudied and imperfect, that function for me as a path to accepting how I look, both in pictures and in real life. For me this starts with making memories with my girl. I’ll take her swimming even when I’m not comfortable with how I look in a bathing suit. I can skip the make-up for running errands so we both know I’m not obligated to “put my face on” before leaving the house. We will bake cookies together, and I’ll eat one too. And in the coming years, when someone asks, “Do you want me to get a photo of you two together?” I will say yes, over and over again. I’m staying in the picture.” The Selfie Project: Staying in the Picture – Adios Barbie

I Recreated Disney Princess Hairstyles With Senegalese Twists, Because Girls With Braids Can Have Fairytale Fun Too – Bustle

Although I started out aiming for a certain look, what I was REALLY after was happiness, confidence, and self-respect.
Wanting to look good can be a strong and positive force in getting us started and keeping us moving forward. It was for me. And I’m sure it is for MANY Nerd Fitness Rebels. ” Is it Vain to Want to Look Better? How Far Is Too Far? – Nerd Fitness

The Slow Fashion Movement – Not Just a Label

Inspirational

How to Live: 32 Attempts at an Answer – Medium

“I firmly believe that we are not our inner critics, that the inner critic voice is one strand of us, a fear-based strand that is not the core of who we are.
One way to think of it is this: most of us hear our inner critic thoughts in this form, “You aren’t good at that” or “You aren’t ready” or “If you do that, people will realize you don’t know what you are talking about.”
In all those statements, notice that there is a speaker and then a “you” that the speaker is addressing.
So here’s the question: who is the “you” that is listening to that critical voice? Who is the critic talking to?
If you were your critic, there would be no separate you for the critic to address its remarks to.” a question to ask yourself today – Tara Sophia Mohr

10 slow and difficult steps to moderate success – Alexandra Franzen

“I need to schedule time to be unscheduled, I need to force myself to wander, I have to reassure myself that staring into space is as useful as staring into my laptop.” Secret of Adulthood: Sometimes, You Have to Work Hard to Be Lazy – Positively Positive

Five Minutes of Mindfulness Magic – Psychology Today

Chronic Illness & Pain

DWP, dealing with department work and pensions, DWP Disability, DLA, ESA – Grace Quantock

“The human–pet connection is one that researchers continue to explore. Over the past few decades there have been numerous studies examining the role of pets in our health, and more are underway. It’s possible that pets could eventually become an integral part of arthritis treatment, or they may maintain their current status as helpful furry friends. Whatever the future holds, there’s no question that for now, pets like Tony are making a big difference for people like Karen Alvarez. “I could probably do it without him,” Alvarez says, “but I’m glad I don’t have to.”” The Power of Pets – Arthritis Self-Management

Travel Food Tips While On AIP – Autoimmune Paleo

“Despite these working theories of why I feel as if I have the flu 24/7, as of this writing, there’s no proven cause and no cure for CFS. This is not surprising, given that so little money is allocated for research into this debilitating illness. Why? One reason is the absurd name. As others have pointed out, calling it, “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” is like calling Emphysema, “Chronic Cough Syndrome,” or Alzheimer’s, “Chronic Forgetfulness Syndrome.”” The Stigma of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Psychology Today & The Stigma of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome II: Readers Respond – Psychology Today

Bioethics Expert Calls for a National Strategy to Address Chronic Pain – KUMC

“New research is revealing that many cases of depression are caused by an allergic reaction to inflammation.  Tim de Chant of NOVA writes: “Inflammation is our immune system’s natural response to injuries, infections, or foreign compounds. When triggered, the body pumps various cells and proteins to the site through the blood stream, including cytokines, a class of proteins that facilitate intercellular communication.  It also happens that people suffering from depression are loaded with cytokines.”  Inflammation is caused by obesity, high sugar diets, high quantities of trans fats, unhealthy diets in general, and other causes.” New Research Discovers that Depression is an Allergic Reaction to Inflammation – FEEL Guide

3 Essential Skills for Moms with Chronic Illness – Our Small Hours

Health

25 Easy Ways to Help the Environment: A Beginner’s Guide – StyleCaster

“”Even if you’re meeting your physical activity guidelines, you cannot undo the risks of prolonged sitting,” said Gavin Bradley, director of the campaign group Get Britain Standing, one of the authors of the new guidance. Bradley, who spoke during a telephone interview while walking, said officials estimate the average Briton sits for more than half of their working hours. His group is expanding its campaign to other countries including the U.S. on Tuesday and is pushing for more people to have access to a desk that allows them to stand.” Don’t take a seat: Panel says workers should stand for about 2 hours a day, even with exercise – Calgary Herald

How to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Tension – Fit for Real Life

“We usually think our mind is in control and telling our body what to do. But there is a lot of scientific evidence that shows the chatter between mind and body goes two ways, and the body is an integral part of how we think. In the new book How the Body Knows Its Mind, Prof. Sian Beilock provides the latest scientific evidence about the body’s influence on our psyche, drawing on work from her own laboratory and from colleagues around the world.” Mind-body connection not a one-way street – Medical Xpress

Coffee Naps: The Bulletproof Power Nap, Explained – Bulletproof Executive

Recipes

Paleo Banoffee Pie – Ari Eats

Rosemary Aioli and Kaleidoscope Fries – Mark’s Daily Apple

Guest Post by Joy-Filled Nourishment: Mint-infused Blackberry-Raspberry Lemonade (Autoimmune Protocol-Friendly) – The Paleo Mom

Mason Jar Mayo: Easy 2-Minute Mayonnaise – Neo-Homesteading

Superfood Scavenger Salad (AIP & WahlsPaleo+) – Petra8Paleo

Gluten Free / Paleo / AIP Sticky Legs Recipe – Paleo Cajun Lady

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