Category Archives: Body

Ice cream for breakfast (and a recipe for sorbet)

Ice cream 2Happy Labor Day! Happy Labour Day!

Since today is the last day of summer (school starts tomorrow here) I took the kids for ice cream for breakfast* with Jen and her girls and Jen's sister and her boys**. 

Some of you are cringing, and some of you are thinking you're going to do that next year.

I've been thinking about the kinds of food rules we make for ourselves, our kids, and our households. What do you eat? What do you not let yourself eat? Are those things the same things your kids eat? Do they eat things you don't, and vice versa?

I've realized that I'm way more disordered with myself than I am with my kids. I tend toward almost all whole foods, but then have big spurts of eating just way too much processed crap. I tend to be more moderate and measured with what my kids eat, with no big deviations. They eat more processed stuff on a day-to-day basis than I do (bread and crackers, mostly), but they also don't seem to go on wild splurges like I do. (Bear in mind that I'm only feeding them 3-4 days a week and then they're at their dad's, so it's easier to be more nutritious consistently when I'm only doing half a week. By the time it becomes a grind I'm done for a few days.)

What are your food rules?


While you're thinking about them, I'll leave you with a recipe I made up a few years ago:

Piña Colada Sorbet

You'll need an ice cream maker, or else you can do that trick of pouring it into a baking pan, freezing until slushy, then stirring up to whip some air into it. But it works better with an ice cream machine. If you want to get a head start on the chilling, stick the cans of pineapple and coconut milk in the refrigerator until you're ready to stir it all together.

1 can crushed pineapple

1 can coconut milk (NOT coconut creme like Coco Lopez unless you like things teeth-achingly sweet)

1 cup whole milk or half and half (or your choice of non-dairy milk, but use the full fat kind. Cow's milk/h&h will give a smoother sorbet. Another cup of coconut milk would be good. Rice milk would probably make ice crystals.)

a slosh of vanilla extract

pinch salt


flaked coconut, optional (You could toast it if you really wanted to be fancy.)

dark rum, optional


Put the pineapple, coconut milk, other milk, vanilla extract, and salt in a blender and blend until the pineapple isn't chunky anymore. (If you like chunky pineapple, stir it all together by hand.) Add the sugar–start with 1/4 cup, then taste. When it's as sweet as you want it, add another tablespoon, because things taste less sweet when frozen.

Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours or more. Stir in the coconut flakes if you're using them, then turn in your ice cream maker. If you're adding rum, wait until the ice cream is almost completely turned before you add it–if you add alcohol too soon the sorbet won't freeze. Scrape out of the ice cream maker into a freezer-proof container and freeze to harden, then enjoy.

Recipe (c) Magda Pecsenye


* I have a summer habit of ice cream for an actual meal, and wrote about ice cream for dinner a few months ago. But I haven't taken the kids for ice cream for breakfast until now.

** At one point all six kids were sitting outside eating their ice cream
and the three of us were inside, and people kept walking by looking at
them as if the kids had come to the ice cream store all by themselves with no adults present.

Q&A: Nakedness in front of the group

S writes:

"I walked into daycare during snack time. All the children were sitting
at tables and it was pretty quiet. The teacher promptly updated me on
how good my daughter was was then said “come on, let's change your pants before
you go". Then instead of lifting my 25lb 2yo onto the changing table the
teacher squatted down on a stool and pulled my kids pants down with her
butt facing all those kids eating. My daughter just looked at me kind of
funny. I redirected the situation by asking her if she wanted to try
the potty before putting the diaper back on. She shook her head yes and
I took her into the bathroom and then finish, leaving the teacher to
take care of the other children. I was very surprised at the act and
plan on discussing with the manager of the daycare but am I being too
harsh?? When do children develop modesty?? I remember being this young,
not a whole lot but the stuff that was emotional to me."

Most kids seem to develop modesty later than 2 years old, but I don't think that that means that it's ok to just pulll down a kid's pants in front of the whole class. It's completely possible that your daugher was embarrassed or just felt like something was wrong. And, even if she didn't, this is sending the message that her body is fine for display.

I think of this the same way I think of forcing kids to kiss people: It might not be uncomfortable for the kid at any one instance, but you're' sending the kid the message that their body is subject to what other people want. That they don't have the right to control who sees or touches them, or who they're forced to touch. Even if you don't mean it, you're telling your child that their own personal boundaries are not worth enforcing.

So, yes, please say something to the teacher. Who I hope just wasn't thinking, but should be more sensitive about what we're teaching kids about their bodies. And good for you for standing up for your girl and her body and her right to her body.

When did your kids start to notice modesty about their bodies?

For kicks

It all started when I mentioned that I might want to start getting into soccer, and my friend Sara started sending me links from Kickette of half-naked male soccer players (Tim Howard at the top of the list). And then I started actually watching soccer on tv, and watched a zillion UEFA games. And then I got Olympics fever and watched every women's game that was aired here in the US. I mentioned that to my friend Wendy, who told me if I liked soccer so much why didn't I join a recreational league?

I read that and my eyes kind of blurred and I got a cramp in my chest. You see, I've never played soccer. And I've never played a team sport. (I don't think JV tennis in 1988 counts much. I only did it to have a sport for college applications, and I was playing singles so it wasn't very teamlike, and the only match I ever won the whole season was when my opponent didn't show up.) And I grew up thinking I was uncoordinated and unathletic. Team sports were for people not like me.

But if there's one thing I've learrned since having kids it's that if something makes you feel that scared, you need to look at it and push into it. So I found a league that said it accepted beginners. And I emailed the registrar and asked, "Do you REALLY want beginners? I have never once played soccer, and the only things I have to offer are enthusiasm and a willingness to run around the field until I puke." Shockingly, they said yes, so I signed up. 

[Editor's note: I've watched enough soccer to sort of know what's going on, but since I've never
played it before I thought I should do a little research. I typed in
"How to play soccer" and got this list of 6 steps. My favorite is Step 4, which tells me how to head the ball.]

I told my parents, who were shocked but supportive. I told my ex (I needed to clear the nights I'm playing for him to take the kids) and I am sure there is nothing I could have told him that would have shocked him more, but he was cautiously encouraging. My friend Jen and her daughters came over for dinner and I told them. Jen was all, "Go you!" and her 9-year-old A, who had just come off her first season of playing soccer in the spring, gave me tips for choosing gear. The next morning I went and bought shin guards, socks, and cleats, and wore them around the house for the rest of the day.

The first game was last Wednesday evening.

Jen's girls were over for a playdate on Wednesday afternoon, so I asked A if she had any advice for my first game that night. She told me, "Soccer is kind of scary and kind of fun!" Then I asked her what she thought I should remember when I was on the field, and she said, "If you see the ball and you think you should run away, instead you should go toward it! Pretend you're a cheetah and the ball is a bull and you want to catch it so you can eat it!"

So I drove to the field and got my shirts and almost immediately one of the other women confessed to me that she'd never played before. Yes! We could be beginners together. But then it kind of didn't matter because the whole gang of women, some of whom knew each other but most of whom didn't, seemed to use consensus to decide who played what position and who would sub in and out when and who should do what. Honestly, I haven't experienced this kind of spontaneous interrelated harmony since I was in undergrad at Bryn Mawr. And now I'm wondering if this is what I was missing all those years by not playing a team sport.

But anyway, I played left midfield for the first half, and three of the women on my team near me coached me through it, and then at the half I switched to right mid, and three different women coached me. And I ran almost the whole time (OMG you get to just run flat out like a little kid! The joy!) and they kept telling me that whenever I touched the ball I was doing well. And I was mesmerized by the rhythm of the game, how you just respond respond respond to what happens and you're out on the field in the cool of the evening and nothing else in the world exists but the ball and your legs running and the women yelling out encouragement to each other.

[Editor's note: Yes, my foot is still sprained. But if I was going to play soccer, I had to just play soccer.]

The next time I saw A she asked me if I used her advice when I played. "I sure did–I was a cheetah going after a bull when I went after the ball," I told her. "I knew you would," she replied. Then we discovered that her team shirt from last spring and my team shirt are both purple.

I'm on a work trip next week, but the week after that I'll be back on the field running around for 90 minutes for the ball.



Today we were going to talk about getting rid of lice, but instead we're going to talk about rape.

I'm sure by now all of you are experiencing the same anger in reading about Missouri Senator Todd Akin's unforgivably cruel comment that when a woman is the victim of a "legitimate rape" her body won't allow her to become pregnant. (This is shockingly similar to VP candidate Paul Ryan's terminology "forcible rape.")

When the story first broke, it seemed laughable, that anyone could be so uneducated in 2012.

So women told stories, on blogs and FB and Twitter, of what had happened to them. Horrible, horrific stories, of things that had happened to women like us, women like you and me. Not just women *like* you and me, but women who are some of you. I know way too many of you have been raped. And some of you had the chance to say no, even to yell, but some of you were too little or too passed out or too scared or too confused to say no. And someone raped you anyway.

I am so deeply sorry. And so glad that you're still here. And sorry that you're carrying that with you.

As the Akin story unfolded, however, it became apparent that he does know medical facts. He's just using words to try to change them. "Legitimate" rape doesn't mean anything except that Todd Akin wants to decide for himself if you have the right to your own body, or if it's completely fine that someone raped you. 

I am going to ask you to click over to read what my friend Kelly told her teenage daughter about rape, and why rape is rape and not "sexual assault." Why renaming it doesn't make it not rape.

Make no mistake: This isn't about Todd Akin, or Paul Ryan, "misspeaking." This is about attempting to change the language so that he controls the dialogue and we are disenfranchised. We, all of us, women of all parties and religious thoughts and ways of speaking, our children, and the men who love us.

And make no mistake: If you vote into office someone who attempts to use words to make something ugly and brutal into something benign and harmless, you are selling yourself out. You are selling your children out. You are selling out me and the people who read this website. You are telling men who rape that it's ok.

Think, hard, about what you want for yourself and other women. And then fight back, hard, for everyone who said no or couldn't, and still was raped.


Snap out of it

I have been feeling overlooked lately. Overlooked and underutilized, as if I am not invited to the party, and it's making me feel small and petulant and uncool.

And then I hurt my foot.

To back up, I will tell you that just over a year ago I started running with my older son. I wrote about it here, about how we started doing Couch to 5K.I kept running all winter and joined the rec center near me to run on the track, and I've done a few 5Ks by myself this year. Along with the weight I've lost, running has helped me feel healthy and strong. It has changed the way I feel about getting older. It is something I can do, and I feel good about doing it, and working at it, and not quitting. (I almost wish I could have another baby so I could experience labor and delivery now that I've learned how to keep going even when I don't want to.)

In this post I figured out that another reason I need to run is that running is the only time I let myself feel raw, painful emotions these days. It's also a safety valve. When I do start to feel bad–rejected, angry, less than, even just unsettled–I go for a run and I get the exercise and challenge but I also get that physical stimulation of the raw place (what I'm beginning to think is the key for us tension increasers) in safety, so the feelings don't tip me over.

I have been stuck at 5K, but decided to spend this fall training up to 10K, and to run a 10K at the end of October. Last Wednesday I ran 4 miles and felt really good about it, except that my heel and toe felt a little weird when I was done. And then later that night they, and the rest of my foot connecting them, were killing me. On Thursday I decided to skip Friday's run to rest. And then by Sunday morning I realized I'd re-sprained the same foot I'd sprained in December 2010, and was going to need to give it another week plus a lot of fish oil and ibuprofen.

So I'm feeling at a loss, and I don't have my coping technique. (I've been swimming, too, but swimming doesn't hit my emotional center the way running does. T-Tapp keeps me energized and sleeping well. Pilates is fun. But they're not running.) And the "oh, poor me"ness I've been feeling about this is making me even more annoyed.

How do I get the patience to let myself heal, when I'm short on patience in the first place and that's why I need to run?

I feel a lot like Veruca Salt right now. Maybe with a side of super-dramatic Anne Shirley.

Who wants to tell me to snap out of it?



The illusion of choice, the free market, and your boobs

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg started an initiative called "Latch on New York" that is asking hospitals to take the formula samples off the bedside tables of new mothers and put them behind the nursing stations or in the drug cabinets so mothers have to ask for them. People are up in arms about this, crying that Mayor Mike is trying to prevent women from choosing and that he's creating a "nanny state."


What he is doing is trying to even the playing field, so huge corporations that don't know or care about your health, your child's health, or any of the decision you make as a parent do not have the ability to pay to have access to your bedside table.

Does it make you angry that formula companies have paid to have the kind of access to you that no one but your chosen medical providers should have? That they have unfettered access to tell you things about your body that may be blatantly false? It makes me angry, but money buys your freedom. I'm surprised the formula companies haven't started striking deals in which women come out of labor and delivery with adhesive stickers (with the name of the formula) stuck across our breasts so the only way even to try to breastfeed is to peel off the stickers first.

Taking formula off your bedside table does nothing to change your ability to choose for yourself. If you are not handed a formula sample in the hospital there is NO EFFECT on your ability to give your child formula when you get down to the lobby, when you get home, a week later, six months later. None. If you are given formula in the hospital we know (based on formula company research) that women are less likely to breastfeed. This means that being given formula in the hospital narrows our choices. Not being given formula, no restriction on choice. Being given formula, restriction on choice.

If you truly care about a woman's right to choose what's best for her and her baby, you will take the financial pressure out of the equation, and eliminate any actions that impede free choice. Putting formula samples right next to the baby's head impedes free choice. Having to ask for formula (just like you have to ask for tylenol, or an extra chucks pad, or another container of orange juice) doesn't impede free choice. It doesn't change anything for women who cannot breastfeed–they can still get those formula samples easily by asking. It doesn't change anything for women who don't want to breastfeed–they can still get those formula samples easily by asking. It could change everything for women who want to breasfeed but don't have correct information or are experiencing problems they can overcome if they're given help, because they will be given EQUAL ACCESS to information that can help them breastfeed and formula samples. They ask for help or they ask for formula. Equal access. No privilege for formula.

I don't want the decisions I make about how to parent my children made by the highest bidder. Especially since the highest bidder doesn't care about me and only wants my money. (Let's not forget that those formula samples are worth about $1.50. A woman who chooses to feed formula based on those samples has just been signed on to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on formula once she leaves the hospital. She is never informed of that. Is THAT free choice?)

I don't care how you feed your baby. But I want you to make a decision about it with all the information, all the support, and all the help you can get. Free choice. I do not want your choices narrowed by the huge financial incentives formula manufacturers pour into hospitals.

As usual, Mayor Mike has gone about his objectives in a ham-fisted way, barrelling in and offending people in an effort to protect consumers. Had I been mayor I'd have gone about it a different way, by requiring any formula company that wants to market directly to consumers in a vulnerable position to fund the salaries of three full-time lactation consultants for every 10 beds in a maternity ward so there is always an LC available to troubleshoot problems, along with providing training in breastfeeding once a year for every RN, LPN, and MD on the floor. Then, go ahead and put formula on the bedside table because there would be an LC right there, too.

But until there is an even playing field, ACTUAL FREE CHOICE WITH BOTH OPTIONS REPRESENTED EQUALLY, don't believe the hype.


(Special thanks to Dr. Aneel Karnani of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan for several discussions that informed the argument in this essay.)


UPDATE: Don't beliueve that having formula on the table affects your likelihood of breastfeeding? PhD in Parenting has a roundup of the research on it at the bottom of this post.

Cooking greens for lunch

I've been making a concerted effort to eat more healthily over the last four or five months, and it's been paying off. I'm down 13 pounds since March, and am feeling better than I have in forever.

A big part of why this has been so relatively easy is that I'm working from home. I can prep and eat food as the day goes on, and not have to have it all done in time to leave in the morning. Of course, this didn't help me all last fall and winter when I was making cookies all day and eating them, but then something clicked and I started realizing I could use my proximity to the kitchen all day long for good instead of evil.

The upshot of all of this is that I'm eating a lot more greens than I have before. I put them in green smoothies (favorite recipe: raw baby spinach, cucumber, blueberries, optional protein powder, water), but I've also been cooking with them. For some reason lunchtime is now associated with sauteed greens for me, and three days a week I make some variation of: green beans, garlic, walnuts, zucchini or bell pepper, and greens (chard, red chard, rainbow chard, kale, spinach, bok choy), and maybe a protein (chicken or sausage or shrimp). Sautee in a little olive oil, season with sea salt, then eat while watching Days Of Our Lives.

This picture is of my lunch last Friday, which consisted of green beans, walnuts, chopped garlic, sliced zucchini, and a really nice chard from Living Stones Community Farm, which sells at the farmers market I can walk to:

Sauteed greens

How can you not feel good eating this almost every day?

Who else is cooking greens this summer? What do you do with them?