Skip to main content

$Monday: Poop Your Problems Away

Grandma always said eat your fiber. And now Grandma is in her 90s and still sharp and chic, so I've baked this whole grain banana bread with flax seeds to share for her birthday.


This week's bougie financial advice was inspired by last week's birthday cake binge. I bought a sheet cake for my daughter's party, and the children only ate 2/3 of it. I was happy to take the rest home, because I enjoy having a sweet treat with my morning coffee. For a week after the party, I started each day with a little piece of birthday cake and a latte. Dreamy, right? This proved to be a lesson in what happens when you make a habit (even for just one week) out of a special occasion treat when you're used to a fairly healthy lifestyle and you're over age 35.

Holy poop.

Like Homer Simpson, I refused to stop eating the treat before it was gone, so I soldiered on through a spiraling cycle of indigestion, fatigue, anxiety, lowered productivity, and sleep trouble.

But but but CAKE.

Fortunately, the cake is now gone (along with the chemical aftertaste of its brightly colored buttercream), and so is my desire for it. I went back to eating my mostly-balanced macros for breakfast (such as toast, a cheesy fried egg, and an apple) and started feeling better the next day.

Today is Grandma's birthday, and instead of bringing cake, I'm bringing a home-baked whole-grain banana bread with flax seeds on top. It is truly delicious; my husband, a self-described "manbearpig" who is at this very moment meeting a guy in a parking lot to acquire some elk meat--and who once ate so much cake at a child's birthday party that he puked--has declared this wholesome banana bread BETTER THAN BIRTHDAY CAKE and has already eaten half the loaf, so now I'm having him pick up some apple butter while he's out for parking lot elk meat so that I can also bake some oatmeal apple spice cookies.

Party time!

Fiber is a wonderful thing. You can eat it along with sugar, and it protects your body from the harmful effects of sugar. You can eat it along with cholesterol, fat, whatever, and it just soaks all that stuff up in your gut and tosses it right out the ole... chute. It keeps your guts cleaned out, functioning, and flourishing with healthy bacteria while making you feel full and satisfied. And it exists naturally in many delicious foods--all your favorite whole fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. ***(Please try naturally occurring fiber in whole foods before considering any supplements. Medications and supplements that make you poop should only be used as a last resort and as directed by a physician, NOT used as a lifestyle choice. Always seek medical help if you are depending on meds or supplements to poop. This indicates a serious health condition or eating disorder.)***

I find that it isn't important to strictly ban any "bad" foods from my diet if I make sure I'm getting enough fiber first. Fiber is so magical. It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. It reduces the risks of type II diabetes and heart disease and cancer. It makes you live longer, even if you have a sweet tooth and a drawer perpetually full of candy like Grandma, who is turning 93 today and still wearing her cute petite pastel trousers to dinner.

Fiber is not a sexy, lusty, hot topic. It will never be trendy because it's so obvious. Caveman/carnivore diets are trendy right now, but I'd rather wear trends than eat them and suffer impacted bowels and irreparable organ damage. Just sayin'. Better out than in.

And although it's boring, it's easy to eat more fiber. I try to fill up at least half of my grocery cart, dinner plate, and stomach with whole plant-based foods whenever possible, and then I fill in the rest with whatever I like. If you've eaten enough fiber, you'll--ahem--void the risks of your indulgences of choice.

Why is this a $Monday post instead of simple health advice? Because high-fiber, whole foods cost less than trendy diet foods right up front, and the savings compound into the future when you avoid chronic illness and all the expensive medical care and pharmaceuticals that you'll need if you eat cheap junk food or degrade your body with scammy and dangerous fad diets. I've seen this play out over the years among my family members, friends, and acquaintances. It's incredibly sad to see loved ones suffer the consequences of physical illness, mood disorders, and financial ruin after spending more effort crafting excuses than taking responsibility for their own health. And I've seen that it's never too late to begin; I've watched friends and colleagues in their 30s, 40s, and 50s reverse pre-diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol by making small but persistent lifestyle changes, including more dietary fiber.

Mayo Clinic offers an easy, simple guide for adding fiber to your life. The hardest part is psychological--just making the decision to go for it and committing to taking better care of your health in ways that aren't always glamorous, mystical, self-punishing, or trendy in ways your peers think are cool. There are no super secret hacks to being healthy without fiber. 

There is no value in punishing yourself for past mistakes or giving up while you're still alive. Mayo Clinic doesn't tell you about that part--that you need to get in the right mindset, love yourself, forgive yourself, trade weight goals for health goals (not the same thing, though fiber also helps with weight loss), and surround yourself with people who will sit down and break some whole grain bread with you because they care about your health and their own.

The sooner you begin to poop your problems away, the better. Bombs away.

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

35 Great Things About Turning 35

The prime of life starts at 35! It's the best-kept secret from younger people, but your 35th birthday is a major cause for celebration. For mine, I have made my own listicle of 35 reasons why experts agree that 35 is the best age to be: You get to say, "I'm 35." The number 35 carries so much more gravitas than 30, but you're only a few years older. At 34, I've started fudging my age--by adding a year. People automatically take me seriously, and if they don't, at least they tell me I look young for my age. (Eye roll, hair toss, "whatever.")    35-year-olds DGAF. Inner chill reaches new heights at 35. Despite its #2 status on this list, it's the #1 response I hear about what's best about hitting 35. My gorgeous friend Nerlie was beautiful and resilient and wise beyond her years in high school, but now, at age 35, she gets to fully enjoy being herself on her own terms. She writes,  "I've survived so much that I don't

$Monday: Corona Summer Self-Care

Nobody wants to hang out in a waiting room at the height of this pandemic summer. One of my friends just dodged an outbreak by procrastinating on having her cat's claws trimmed. Now everyone who's been to that vet during the past few days is supposed to do the two-week quarantine routine. Now on top of copays and the usual discomforts of obtaining care for our furry friends and our human selves, there's the risk of catching the cooties. Definitely go and get any treatments that you need, but it's great to not need as many office visits. I'm doing what I can do at home to take care of my own health and have all of my stupid, silly summer fun in relatively safe ways--like having a redneck pool party in the lawn with my daughter and husband. Here are some other ways I'm staying healthy, safe, and sane while maintaining social distancing and a spark of faith that my kid might somehow be able to go back to school next month: keeping active with silly st

$Monday: Bog Witch Style on a Budget

Autumn in a pandemic is the perfect time to tap into your inner bog witch with wild hair, cozy clothes, forest rituals, creepy cats, fire, books of spells, and Dark Cottagecore home decor mood boards on Pinterest . You don't have to live in a literal swamp. The word "bog" comes from a Gaelic term for "soft," and it sounds nearly identical to Slavic words for gods or divinity with Proto-Slavic roots that refer to earthly fortune. Bog witches burrow into the true goodness of life nestled beneath all the hustle and polish and show of making a living. They focus on soft wealth and spiritual power. The vibe is slow, earthy, comfy, moody, sneakily seductive, maybe sticky, wise rather than smart, preferring old things to new, charming rather than impressive. It's about harmonizing with the natural environment, blending, melting, enveloping, and sinking into earthy, downward energy. Bog witchery vibes with hygge, friluftsliv , and the indigenous earth wisdom of whe

TBT: Full House

Remember when co-housing, roommates, and multi-generational family homes were good ideas? Those living arrangements still have their advantages, but during a pandemic, it is much safer for individuals, romantic partners, and caregiver/dependent units to have their own spaces, amenities, and entrances. I miss the days when that wasn't so. I hope that one day soon, this pandemic will end, and the Great Recession-era post below will once again be relevant... at least for some people, at some times in their lives. I'm sure it is still relevant on well-governed, geographically isolated island nations such as New Zealand and Iceland. Oh, to be in one of those nations at this time! I sure do miss hanging out with my friends and having overnight guests, but in this very particular moment, I am grateful to live in a single-family home with only my husband and daughter and to enjoy the ability to stay put in it most of the time. I sure did not see an out-of-control pandemic coming

TBT: Fast-Forward Fashion

This blast from the past is funny, because my personal style and shopping habits have evolved quite a bit since my 20s--in fact, full circle to the advice in the first paragraph I wrote, which I went on to reject at the time. In my 20s, I enjoyed extremely silly fashion. I'd look at Vogue magazines and then imitate designer looks in ridiculous ways. I tried to anticipate near-future trends, which I nailed in the first picture here, where I've "put a bird on it" before the meme was born. Yus! ...But. Now that I am a fully fledged adult with a more relaxed budget, I hardly ever shop for clothes or accessories, not even at thrift shops, where I am now more afraid of picking up bugs. I still have a lot of clothes, but I rely heavily on swaps and hand-me-downs from friends and family. Occasionally I browse garage or church sales in communities I trust to sell clean garments. The world is now drowning in excess clothing, so it's easy to rake in quantities of barely-wo

$Monday: We Can Rise Above Death Cult Capitalism

Mmm, doesn't the smell of a bonfire make you feel punkin' spicy? Growing up, I internalized the United States cultural values of hard work as its own reward, high scores, and monetizing everything. From the age of 13, I scrounged for paltry wages (childcare, tutoring, arts and crafts sales, retail and food service and office temp jobs) while earning high grades at expensive private schools. I learned to feel guilty about "wasting" time relaxing without multi-tasking or enjoying a hobby with no intention of turning it into a hustle . I didn't have enough time to eat or sleep properly, and it made me sick and tired all the time. I was curious and drawn to new experiences, but I always felt ashamed of spending any time or resources pursuing an interest that offered no clear path to a paycheck or an award that would reflect a flattering glow upon my forebears. I had a healthy rebellious streak, but I learned to justify my transgressions with proofs of respectability a

$Monday: Testing a New Kitchen Design Before Renovation

My husband and I planned to renovate our worn-out kitchen this year, with my dad's help. And--oop!--we all know what happened to everyone's plans for 2020. There is no way I can keep my family fed properly through the pandemic in my designed-circa-1990, tacked-together, corner-cut, stingy-cheap, crazy, nailed-it-wrong kitchen nightmare that has been crumbling, grumbling, rotting, rusting, and breaking since we bought this house in 2008. We have to do something, so we turned a setback into an opportunity to slow down and beta test some of our new kitchen ideas with temporary staging. It might look insane, but who cares? We won't be having the queen over for tea anytime soon, so we can take time to play with space and function before we commit to building permanent structures and finishing surfaces. For example, open shelves are not practical for everyone. They don't hide clutter or protect things from dust. However, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and prefer

$Monday: Can You Breathe?

You can't earn or save money if you can't even breathe. One reason why "it's expensive to be poor" is that people who live in lower-income neighborhoods don't get enough clean air to breathe . I've demonstrated that " You can't afford a poor diet ," and it's even more obvious that you can't give up oxygen to save money. Poor air quality destroys productivity , and the terrible costs of air pollution are mainly borne by the individuals who suffer health conditions, disability, cognitive impairment , and premature death due to their lack of access to clean air. Before the pandemic, air pollution caused mostly by fossil fuel burning was killing about 200,000 Americans a year , and now it is accelerating American Covid deaths by over 15% . Meanwhile, cries of "I can't breathe" draw our attention to escalating police brutality and our federal government militarizing Brownshirt-resembling forces against its own citizens who a

TBT: The Best Free Medicine (Hint: Not Hydroxyclean)

It's not Hydroxyclean. Or any kind of disinfectant. Or hydroxychloroquine. It's not anything hocked by our joke of a president. But it is jokes about that and anything else that makes you laugh instead of rage. Humor has become more important than ever to my family's mental and emotional health during this global crisis. My tastes may have matured (or... something) since my days of watching Sacha Baron Cohen movies--now I prefer watching YouTube shows Trixie and Katya Save the World (WOWPresents) and I Like to Watch (Netflix) and following @knee_deep_in_life on Instagram. My husband and I laugh so hard we cry over a well-timed fart joke. Our nine-year-old daughter is a bit more sophisticated, but she shares the dark side of our sense of humor; we all adore Christina Ricci's iconic portrayal of Wednesday Addams. The news is, as usual, full of horror that isn't funny. Right now, the two main themes seem to be pandemic tragedy and racist violence. My husband and

TBT: Buddhist Meditations

Zen meditations! Inspirational quotes! Sick burns! Buddhism offers them all. As many American college students do, I enjoyed studying and practicing Buddhist rituals in college. As a recovering Catholic from a weirdly fundamentalist, Germanic-ish family tradition, I found the "bells and smells" of Buddhist temples familiar in a comforting way and the anti-dogmatic edge of Zen exhilarating in a refreshing way. I learned that extreme prayer and self-control are not owned by Christians, nor is smug superiority. What valuable lessons for a young person to learn. So valuable, in fact, that in our late 30s, my husband and I are still paying the bills for our private college educations. Can you put a price on ancient wisdom? Is that a koan? In my earliest adulthood, I took solace in the meditations below. Please enjoy them here on the Magic Nutshell, free of charge. Buddhist Meditations The Buddha sought a middle path between asceticism and materialism. All over the world, people a