Chili Powder and Oils

Spice combinations can be dangerous for those of us who are avoiding oils. One such is chili powder which is a combination of things including paprika, cumin, oregano, cayenne, garlic and onion powder. Powdered garlic and onion are often contaminated with oils so for my last recipe that I needed chili powder I mixed up a batch of my own from a recipe I found online. It was WAY too spicy. In future I will simply substitute paprika for the chili and add the other spices to the recipe to taste.

I am unsure whether paprika is contaminated with oils during processing. I could find nothing online about it but it is basically the same dehydration process that onions and garlic go through so there is a chance it is. I’m looking into dehydrating my own sweet peppers and grinding them myself. But for now I am using the smoked paprika I can find at my co-op. Has anyone else noticed a problem when eating certain spices? Please comment below and share.

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How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind

I read How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K White a few weeks ago and it wasn’t until I read another organizing book last week that I realized how amazing it was.

Before I had my little person I had finally started gaining a handle on my household mess. I wasn’t embarrassed to have people drop by because with ten minutes warning I could straighten up. I knew where everything was or if I didn’t I could make a good guess about where it was and usually find it. After years of living in chaos I felt quite proud of my newfound clean.

After my little person was born I lost momentum and my house fell back into chaos. Nowadays I have a great deal of trouble finding anything. I am often embarrassed when people visit. I have loads of filing that needs done and closets of stuff that need gone through and unfinished projects everywhere. It’s kind of depressing honestly.

The author is a self confessed slob who has worked out ways of controlling her housework. As I read the book I was reminded of my own journey from moving from messy towards more organized all those years ago. It was amazing how many of the same tricks had worked for her as had for me. It made me a lot more comfortable trying out the new ideas that she presented.  As I read, I tried implementing her methods and I saw a huge difference in the mess of my home.

One of the ideas that really resonated with me was that your home gets clean when you clean it, so it’s best to do a little bit often rather than a lot of cleaning all at once.  Because when I was super sick all the time before I figured out my problem with oils I could only do five or ten minutes of cooking or cleaning up before needing a rest. So I would do the little that I could do, then rest, then do a little more, over and over until I had food. I noticed that because I had only short period of activity I did as much cleaning up as I could and surprisingly this worked way better than my former way of trying to do everything in one chunk of activity.

So when the author suggested a five minute pick up I was very willing to try it out. I put on a timer and went to work. Boy did it make a difference. After a few days my house felt better and I felt capable of doing some of the organizing I wanted to do. She had some real hints to share about that too.

I notice in most organizing books that they recommend the same fashion of purge where you make piles of stuff. Pull everything out and put everything in the piles and then put everything back and then take care of each pile. I have never found this to work.  I would always end up with a bigger mess than I started with. The simple suggestion that changed this for me was to put things where they go as you go. So even though you might end up running around more, when you stop you don’t have a big mess to pick up. This along with the donatable donation box makes organizing so much better, especially with a small person running around underfoot moving things as you put them down.

I have honestly never found organizing books to be terribly practical. I usually consider them helpful if they give me one or two nice ideas. So the fact that almost every suggestion in her book was actually helpful makes this book sit head and shoulders above all others. In fact I might even stick it in its own category. It helps that it was also funny and easy to read.

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Fiction Myths about Pregnancy

I’ll admit when I wanted to become pregnant I read more about how to get pregnant and how to raise children than I did about the actual pregnancy and birth process.

What little I did know I had gleaned from fiction. As we all know fiction is not reality, so here is a little truth to combat the silly fiction memes about pregnancy and birth.

Myth #1 Stress leads to labor.

This is straight up wrong. My midwife was very clear with me: stress impedes birth and labor. Women need to be calm and in a safe place with people they trust before their bodies will allow the child to be born. The more stressed a pregnant woman is the LESS likely she is to go into labor. In fact she has often found that she will have to leave for awhile in order to get labor to start properly because even though pregnant women know her they don’t know her well enough to let down their guard around her. Which is why when a writer adds a person going into labor into the middle of a tense action movie just know that probably would not happen.  They women would probably endure the entire experience be checked out by the EMTs  go home, calm down and THEN go into labor.

Myth #2 Pregnant women want sex just as much as they did before they got pregnant.

Hormones are strange things so perhaps for some women this is true. For me pregnancy was vastly uncomfortable and I don’t know anyone who feels sexy when sick. But even if I hadn’t felt nauseous for seven months, my vagina and pelvic area went through all kinds of changes that made sex tricky. It was possible but adjustments had to be made at every stage because my body changed every week and sometimes every day. I had looked forward to sex right up until delivery, but found that it was not in the cards for me.

Myth #3 Labor is awful and scary and requires emergency care.

My experience was a home birth. If I had to pick a word for the entire experience it would be ‘work’. It was not awful or scary, or even that painful. There was a lot of time waiting for contractions. I went for a lot of walks, did puzzles and chatted with my mom and the midwives. It was almost mundane. Then I would contract and my world became narrowed to pushing which was very physically exhilarating at first and it was not painful. There was a point when I felt like a marathon runner, I was so tired and I still had to push and the midwives would just set me up in a new position and I would push some more.  I did try and wuss out once or twice but no one let me. At final push time when the baby’s head came though it was excruciatingly painful but since that was about three minutes total of 24 hours and afterwards I felt wonderful I wouldn’t count it as a big part of the experience. I did tear but at that point I couldn’t feel much and the midwife stitched me up. Mostly I was tired and euphoric by the end.

I would say that my midwife was very important to my birth process mostly because I was inexperienced. If I’d managed one bigger push at the end I wouldn’t have torn. I was just unaware of what was needed and was very tired. Because my midwife was a nurse and had medical training I didn’t need a doctor or emergency help. I realize that every woman’s experience is different but birth certainly doesn’t have to be scary, painful, or covered by a doctor.

Myth#4 Pregnant women are either blissed out or bitchy because of hormones.

I will admit pregnancy was incredibly hormonal. Every aspect of your life is influenced by the things your body is trying to do. However I did not feel particularly blissful or bitchy. Mostly I felt sick and/or emotional. The hormones really accentuated emotions making it almost impossible to control my reactions. I did cry during commercials and have to avoid scary or upsetting movies but I was assured by my closest friends that I did not become a mother Theresa type figure nor a demon from the depths of hell.

Myth #5 Pregnant women eat more.

Everyone says to you when you are obviously pregnant “you are eating for two” but pregnant women really don’t need that many more calories because the baby is so tiny (even at the end). What they need more of is nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals which for some people ends up being more food. Nursing women on the other hand are in fact eating for two calorie wise. Every bit of milk they produce contains calories and burns calories as its being made.

When I wasn’t unable to eat I had a fairly normal appetite during pregnancy. Which since I was gaining weight was totally fine. It was when I started nursing that my appetite kicked into high gear. In the first week of nursing I dropped a lot of weight even though I was eating an amazing amount of food. I didn’t stop losing wight until I started eating a LOT more food. Even though my 18 month old is eating some solid foods now she drinks enough milk that my appetite hasn’t really diminished either. If I slip up and reduce my food intake I start losing weight fast.

Myth #6 The main things that pregnant women should avoid are drugs and alcohol.

This is really misleading. Obviously drugs and alcohol are bad for babies but there are all kinds of other activities and substances that I was advised about. The amount of things a pregnant woman must avoid or consult their doctor before consuming is so long it might actually be better off to have a list of what you can eat. I felt shockingly deprived.

I am sure there are many more myths out there in fiction but these were the ones that I was most surprised by. Be sure to comment if I skipped one you think is important.


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