Hey Lou Writes

The Grey Matters


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LIVE Like Your Life Depends On It (How I Want To LIVE)

If you missed my Eat Like Your Life Depends On It posts, you can catch up here:

ELYLDOT (Which It Does)

ELYLDOT (How I Used To Eat)

ELYLDOT (How I Began To Eat)

ELYLDOT (How I Got Overwhelmed)

life, organic eating, healthy, happy

Kate Burn Photography

I’m writing about all of this because food, health, local and organic growing has become a passion of mine in the last few years. I care about what people eat, how it’s grown, how the animals we eat are raised and the impact that big agriculture has on our environment and health.

But I never, ever, want to sound preachy or know-it-ally. That’s my worst nightmare.

Which is why, I think, I have avoided writing the next post. Yes, avoided. Can you believe it? Each day I thought to myself, eh, I can write this tomorrow.  Write WHAT tomorrow, though?

Maybe I’ll share what a typical week of eating looks like? Maybe I’ll write more about the books I read that led me to eating this way. Maybe I’ll mention again how I don’t have a TV and how much better I believe my life is for it.

Maybe I’ll write nothing?

Nothing wasn’t an option. Partly because I got an e-mail from my future novel. Partly because I’m home sick today and all I have is time, tissue, and hot beverages to distract me. I knew this day would come eventually, and then I got inspired by a friend (which always happens at the most poignant of times.) My friend Jenny over at JenEric Generation posted a blog about change and not being afraid to make your blog, or life, a little bit different than it used to be. I refuse to fall into the puddle of despair!

So maybe I’ll write about all of these things, and have fun while doing it. Here we go.

More than a few people asked me to write about what I eat. This was exciting for me because it’s not like I get a crazy amount of comments or concerns or questions revolving around Hey Lou… but the ones I do get mean so much to me that I could burst.

WHAT I EAT

Don’t be disappointed, okay? I have started cooking almost all of my food, but that doesn’t mean I’m some awesome cook. I’m often told I didn’t use enough salt. I’m often told to change it up a little bit. But here are some truths:

1) I am entirely content eating the exact same thing for up to three weeks (or more). If I find something I love, I’ll just get in a groove and make it every day. Some people need more variety. I am not one of those people.

2) I don’t need a crazy amount of salt or sweetener to enjoy something. I know a girl who literally brings a sweet potato, a tiny container of peanut butter, a slice of cabbage, and a hard boiled egg for lunch. She loves to taste each thing on its own. I think that’s lovely and amazing. I don’t do quite that, but I can also use the yolk of an egg to add flavor and texture, rather than make a dressing for a salad…

3) I love to do this. Some people don’t. However, I didn’t used to love it. I learned to love it.

Recently, I’ve been able to get tons of potatoes. I get my produce primarily from my harvest box from Skarsgard, where I’m doing a farming internship, and there have been tons of potatoes for pick up, and you can even double up on that option in most cases. (Bonus to anyone who understands that lingo. Double Up Option, anyone?) ANYWAY. I have tons of potatoes. What do I do with them?

Here’s what I’ve had for breakfast and lunch for about three weeks now:

(this is a recipe that I split up for both meals, so cut in half if you want this for ONE meal)

Ingredients:

4-5 potatoes, diced

1 onion, diced

3-4 chard, kale, or collard leaves (or throw in any green you want!) sliced or chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 zucchini, sliced (or bell peppers, carrots, or anything else I happen to have at the moment)

2 eggs

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

Heat up a pan with the EVOO and first add the “hardest” ingredients. I always add the onion first in any recipe. Then the potatoes. Then the carrots or bell peppers or zucchini, whichever I am adding.

***Here’s a very simple trick: You’re cooking this stuff in oil, right? A great way to “steam” these items and quicken up the softening process is to have your LID ready, pour in a small amount of water, and cover with the lid quickly. It will spurt all over your kitchen and you if you don’t cover. But with the cover on, the elements in your pan will kind of go nuts, and in the process, everything will get steamed in a way that turns out awesome. Just wait a minute until everything settles down. This doesn’t take too much water. 

I let these cook for a while. I like the potatoes to be black on some spots, I love for some onion to be slightly burned. I’ll use a fork to test the potatoes and carrots. Once everything is the way YOU want it, add your tomatoes and greens. These will cook and soften right away. 

Lastly, add your egg. I like to make a hole in the middle of the pan, add more EVOO, and throw the egg in and scramble it in the center, then eventually mix it all together.

Occasionally, I’ll add a pinch of salt or soy sauce or curry. Occasionally.

Seriously, that’s it. Want another one? Okay. I’ll give you another one.

Ingredients:

arugula, a giant handful

lemon juice, half a lemon

peas, frozen or fresh

1 egg

Directions:

Lay down your arugula. heat up the peas, pour over greens. Squeeze on the lemon juice. Cook your egg over easy and add to the salad.

It’s that easy! Folks, I ate this arugula breakfast for, NO JOKE, three months. I felt more energized than ever before. I noticed my thighs feeling a little bit… tighter. You know what I mean. To this day, I cannot eat oatmeal or cereal or a muffin for breakfast. I eat vegetables, and always with some sort of leafy green. And almost always with an egg (or two.)

Instead of just laying down a solid week of eating, I’ll give you a few recipes in each post (or every few posts, whichever happens naturally!) Sound good? Good!

On to other topics. Did anyone notice how I named this blog LIVE Like Your Life Depends On It, rather than Eat? That was due to good ol’ Jenny’s blog, and I decided to change it … just because it felt right. Eating is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to have a great life, but it’s the way we live out our days that matter most.

life, living, healthy, passions

Kate Burn Photography

If you start off your day with vegetables (preferably organic, because who wants to start off their day with chemicals?), a walk, or some sort of movement, how could you have a bad day? That rude customer won’t seem to vile. That guy who cut you off on the highway must be having a bad day, but you sure aren’t. See what I mean? These changes happened for me little by little until one day, I was just an all around positive person. I have my “bad” days but they are rare. For the most part I’d rather laugh at a stupid joke while eating a great home-cooked meal, while pondering my next writing adventure…

WHICH LEADS ME TO THE E-MAIL I RECEIVED FROM MY FUTURE NOVEL.

It might be because the online writing group I’m a part of sends out e-mails of this kind to inspire, but I prefer to think that How We Lost Our Minds actually sent me a message from the future. From: YOUR NOVEL. Message: PLEASE WRITE ME THIS NOVEMBER.

I’m almost done with How We Lost Our Minds, so maybe this is from the next project. I still haven’t decided. It could be from the much better, clearly organized and edited, version of the current one. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. After all, November isn’t that far away.

Even more than I cannot live without organic food and partaking in growing that food, I cannot live without writing. It’s why I have this blog. It’s why I’m trying to get published… and why I’ll never give up.

I want to live in this way because it’s the only way I know to be healthy and content.

You guys, if you don’t have a passion, that is probably what you need to change before you even think about what you’re cooking for your next meal. Without something to stay alert and active and healthy for, then a meal is just a meal. It isn’t charging you up for the life you want, is it? This is me trying to hard not to be preachy, but to be inspirational. I’ve shared with you all how unhappy I was before I changed the way I eat, but I realized that at almost the exact same time I changed my eating lifestyle, I also began to WRITE.

They went hand in hand. They are both such a large part of my life, that I’d be lost without the other.

I can’t explain why loving my characters and what they go through connects so strongly with what I put into my body, but it does.

What do YOU have that is worth staying healthy for? What changes have you made? Who do you want to inspire?

How are you LIVING like your LIFE depends on it?

I’d love to know :)

Love, LOU

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Move Over Homeowners Association!

Day 22, Wednesday: Rant about something. Get up on your soapbox and tell us how you really feel. (a pet peeve, a current event, a controversial topic, something your husband or roommate or neighbor or boss does that really ticks you off)

Get ready, readers.

writing, gardening, outside, backyard flowers

sweat and time, but worth it

I have a beef. There’s no homeowners association in my neighborhood, so I’m not really against them. I’m sure they do great things, but I’ve never been to such an exclusive meeting.

I am, however, in quite a tiff with front lawns. Yes.

Front lawns. 

Before you think I’m crazy, just stay with me and hear me out.

After reading these books:

Ominvore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

The Food Revolution by John Robbins

Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran

Food Rules by Michael Pollan

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

The One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock by Harvey Ussery

…to name a few…

And watching these documentaries:

Dirt

The Vanishing of the Bees

Food Inc.

Hungry For Change

 

…let’s just say, I am now a changed person.

I am no expert. I still have a lot more reading to do, a lot more steps to take, in order to live the lifestyle I want to achieve, but I’m getting there. I may not be the most well-read person on the subject of organic food/gardening/local/gmo’s/the impact it all has on our environment, but I know a thing or two.

Plus, I’m passionate about it. That counts for something as well.

The reason I am upset with front lawns is because it has recently dawned on me just how utterly silly they truly are.

What does a front lawn do?

-It looks nice

-It uses tons of water (especially in dry climates)

-It gets looked at

-It keeps homeowners associations and the mean old lady down the street happy

-Uses up oil, for those who mow the lawn (unless you’re using one of those old twisty non-electric things)

When, I wonder, did the front lawn become a staple among American homes? I’m sure there’s some historian who can tell me exactly where the idea stemmed from (probably a European country), what ads in the early 1900’s began to tell folks they needed such a space for grass, and how the idea spread like wildfire, resulting in cookie cutter lawns. I haven’t met him or her yet. If you are one, please, let me know. I am baffled.

But why do I have a problem with something we all grew up with?

Because if everyone used their front lawns for edible gardens, so many of the world’s problems would be solved. 

You read that correctly.

Have you ever thought about it? Using that space, or even half of it, to supply your own family with food? People are so creative. I’ve seen many a Pinterest picture showing a person how to garden using little space. The information is out there, we just need to start paying attention. For those who have both a front and back yard, why not turn that entire backyard into something functional?

Something that will:

-Feed you

-Save you money in the long run

-Put all that water to a good cause (I repeat: saving you $$$)

-Improve your health

-Ensure that the produce you eat is, in fact, organic

-Bring you closer to nature as you raise something up from seed

-Enhance your eating experience

-Help the bee population (I LOVE bees. In fact, I just planted a bunch of flowers and herbs all together from a “Save the Bees” seed mix. They need chemical free resources and we need them.)

-Make you less dependent on big companies and/or government for food (this is so important)

Sounds good, right?

Oh! And you don’t have to mow it. Therefore, you will be using less oil. That’s always a plus, right? (Again, I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure it will run out someday. Why not start a generation of kids who know how to feed themselves?)

You might even get some chickens for such a backyard…as they:

-Help add nutrients into the soil

-Keep pests at a minimum

-Eat weeds and your table scraps (instant compost!)

-They are so cute!

In areas within a city where having chickens might not be allowed, you can try to get the law changed. It’s happened all over the place.

[Click here for my own baby chick adventure.]

chickens, organic, gardening

Meet Linus

Anyway.

The current food system is in desperate need of repair. If you haven’t noticed, people are gaining weight left and right, healthcare systems are in shock, and more and more people are dependent on some form of medication to live their normal lives.

Why? Because we are eating Food-Like Substances, a term coined by Michael Pollan.

“Populations that eat a so-called Western diet- generally defined as a diet consisting of lots of processed foods and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of refined grains, lots of everything except vegetables, fruits and whole grains- invariably suffer from high rates of the so-called Western diseases: obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.” -Michael Pollan, Food Rules

Any processed food you buy at the store most likely comes from a giant crop that is depleting the ground of nitrogen, harming water sources, and there’s a good chance it’s a GMO. (Genetically Modified Organism)

We’re not Generation Y, folks.

We are The Guinea Pig Generation. There are all kinds of scientific things happening to our food, often involving chemicals, that we are mostly unaware of and most definitely exposed to on a daily basis. And there has been little or no testing done to determine what long term effects these changes and chemicals will have on our long term health. (Or short term. Read about my struggle with acne and how I ended it once and for all here.)

Some people swear that the key to losing weight is counting calories. I’d like to suggest something else.

Never look at another calorie count/nutrition label again.

Look only to the ingredient list. For this holds the key to what you are eating.

“It’s gotten to the point where we don’t see foods anymore but instead look right through them to the nutrients (good and bad) they contain, and of course to the calories- all these invisible qualities in our food that, properly understood, supposedly hold the secret to eating well.

…I learned that in fact science knows a lot less about nutrition that you would expect- that in fact nutrition science is, to put it charitably, a very young science.” -Michael Pollan, Food Rules

Who cares if what you’re eating has more grams of fat? It could be from a great source, like coconut oil or nuts. You will only know if you look at the ingredients list. And even better, make sure that list is filled with food you recognize. Ethoxylated diglycerides? Calcium propionate? Ammonium Sulfate? DUDE. Why are these things everywhere the eye can see? Are you okay with that, when you really think about it?

This is just me, but here are my general rules while shopping:

-Look at the ingredients and try to choose an item with as few as possible (I try not to pass 5 ingredients)

-Make sure they’re all pronounceable (unless you’re with a rocket scientist)

-Shop only on the outside of the store (Ever noticed how processed foods tend to be in the aisles? Produce, bulk items, and foods in their natural state are often found on the periphery of the store)

-I look for Non-GMO Project items

-I get produce that is in season

-I buy at least 95% organic, if not 100% (NOTE: if an item is local, that beats out organic….because many local sources cannot afford the organic certification)

And before you go telling me that this is too expensive, let me ask you yet another question:

How much do you spend on your TV access, your smartphone, or your monthly medication for high blood pressure? Priorities. I cannot say we are rich. But I can say that our top priority when spending comes down to what ends up on our dinner plates. Investing in your health is a real thing. 

At the end of the day, why not do your shopping in your yard? 

It could change the world we live in for the better.

I promise!

{I’d like to share some exciting finds. I only drink soy, almond, or oat milk. The only problem I had with these was … you guessed it… their ingredient lists. They are so often filled with “filler” items like carrageenan or tricalcium posphate. We make our own oat milk sometimes, but on days when we run out and I just want to buy something, we resort to whatever we can get at the store. Today Greg came home with an awesome item!!!!!! WESTSOY Organic Unsweetned Soymilk! Ingredients: filtered water, whole organic soybeans. HALLELUJAH}

{Another fun note: we have lettuce, spinach and Lambsquarters [a wild green, often thrown away as a “weed”] growing out back and I haven’t had to buy my greens at the store. It’s so exciting. I cannot even convey how happy this makes me! Inside and out!!}

So much love,

I just want YOU to be healthy,

and glowing,

and happy,

<3 LOU

writer, new writer, fiction

um… I hope my rant wasn’t too ranty


8 Comments

Everyday Happenings

Blog Everyday In May Challenge cont…

Day 6, Monday: If you couldn’t answer with your job, how would you answer the question, ‘what do you do’?

This is a fun one. I’d say there are three main things I do.

I write. I hope that one day, it is disqualified for this list… aka, it’s my only job.

writing, short stories, young adult, fiction

almost 3 years ago, at my parent’s house, working on the first book I ever wrote! It was a doozy let me tell you

I read. Every day. Can’t get enough of it. I wish I had more hours in the day simply so I could finish books in one sitting. In fact, part of me wishes I hadn’t entered this challenge, because all I want to do at this very moment is get back to reading The Magician King because it is so good. I had dreams about it last night!

new writer, young adult, reading

CURRENT READ!!!

ps I always, always take book jackets off. I hate them.

I laugh. Most of the time it’s Greg’s silly moments that make me laugh hysterically, but sometimes I am all alone. In fact, Greg tells me that I am the only person he knows who makes themselves laugh as often as I do. What can I say? I guess I’m pretty funny! :)

writing, laughing, what I do

Lou and Lou laughing away :)

So, if you ever think of me, picture me doing at least one of these three things.

What do you do?

<3 Lou

 


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Three Lovely Ladies <3

UPDATE!!! CHICKEN COOP IS ALMOST READY!!! 

diy chicken coop, chickens, building, writing

I think the chickens will fit…. ;)

chicken coop, chickens, diy, writing

Greg, gettin his drill on

chicken coop, diy, chickens, writing, short stories

It was all of a sudden freezing last night! Fun, though…..

I can’t wait for the chickens. They’ll be free range, organic, and completely loved by me. I already have their names picked out (we’re just eating their eggs! not them!) and I’ll post about it when we get them this week…yay

Anyway.

Now, business.

Blog Everyday in May Challenge

Day 5, Sunday: Publicly profess your love and devotion for one of your blogger friends. What makes them great? Why do you love them? If you don’t have blogger friends, talk about a real-life friend or even a family member

Easy! This is an easy blog to do!!

I have three. If I lived in the same place as these fabulous gals, we’d all be in a book club. I’d ask them to join me for coffee (or Earl Grey Tea) at least once a month, and I think we’d all laugh about our funny “I’m married” (or “I’m dating”) stories as well as how much we love to share bits and pieces of our lives with others. (I picture the four of us being friends like the four women in Sex and the City. Is that weird?)

I think you’ll want to be their friends, too!!

First up!!!

Olive Me Post – A Blog By Cindy Johnson

Cindy is a good friend of mine! She is so sweet and encouraging, and even cooler, I actually know her. She was at my wedding, which makes for a special bond that girls will never forget. We’ve laughed together over ridiculous things like barking spiders. We’ve slept in bunk beds together. Memories, oh memories.

But even better than all of that… Cindy is about to be a published author.

Yup! That’s right.

She has accomplished something huge. Cindy is a big inspiration to me and many others. Her faith in God is worth striving for, her kindness is rare, and her ability to write is fantastic. I have literally laughed out loud, gasped in horror and shook my head at her true stories. She’s one of those people who have weird things happen to them all the time. She can’t even go to an airport without something odd taking place.

Cindy has insightful things to say about dating, red flags (hilarious, so hilarious), Halloween, and dreaming big.

Second!!!

JenEric Generation …We Are Far Too Easily Pleased

Jenny Williams (great last name, by the way) was the first blogger to ever reach out to me.

I was SO IMPRESSED with her blog and everything she does on it, I thought only, “Wow, how does that work? How does she do it?”

Jenny is so smart/funny/witty and she always has something important to share with the world. She recently interviewed me and I’ve never felt so honored in my life. We have some common loves:

-C.S. Lewis

-Bald men (okay, we’re not super creepy, we’re both married to bald guys! I just love that!)

Style (though, look at her! she is way more stylish than I’ll ever be.)

-Pretty sketches (I don’t sketch though… only she does ;) )

I owe a lot of any blogging success I might have to her. She’s been willing to answer all of my questions and keep in touch with me as I figure out the internet and blogging in general. So thanks for EVERYTHING, Jenny!

Last But Not Least!!!

The Lady Okie…Planting My Stakes In A Flyover State 

I feel like meeting Amanda, via the blogging world, was completely meant to be. Here’s why:

I said to Greg, “How does a writer find a reputable editor? I’ve googled it and asked around, and I just can’t quite figure it out. Gosh, I really need someone to edit my stuff.”

THEN Amanda, one of the most hilarious and well spoken (well written?) people I’ve ever encountered, and I “met” via blogging. I checked out her page and there it was: my answer. She is a professional freelance editor! Can you believe it? She has already opened my eyes to ways I can improve my writing and she is perfect, just perfect, when it comes to finding errors. I love that.

Some of my favorite blogs of Amanda’s include:

That one time she…..

RAN A MARATHON… no biggie ;)

WENT SKYDIVING… also, no biggie (um, I’ve always wanted to do this.)

WAS SUPER HONEST… and it made me immediately like her. I love honesty in people!!

I could go on and on.

Just go look at Cindy, Jenny and Amanda’s blogs and I promise, your life will improve. :)

Love, Lou


16 Comments

Lou’s Really Good At…

Here it is!! Day 2 of the challenge- to write a blog every single day of May. Uff-da!

Day 2, Thursday: Educate us on something you know a lot about or are good at. Take any approach you’d like (serious and educational or funny and sarcastic)

First off, let me tell you all a few things I am NOT so good at. I’ve tried and failed at so much, the list is hard to compile.

Being super fashionable. I just don’t do fashion. I mean, I think I pull off a great outfit every once in a while, but that’s largely thanks to Pinterest and the example of others. In high school my friends constantly teased me for my lack of ability to match. My shoes NEVER matched my outfit. I only have one purse. One. Not one for each outfit. I wear the same thing two days in a row. I could never do a fashion blog.

Arguing about politics. I know what I like, what I don’t like, what I want to support and what makes me want to cry. What I am bad at is arguing for these things, purely with political stats and facts. I am horrible at remembering which article x info came from, or which (scuzzy) politician said what (scuzzy) thing and the date it was said on, or what happened 20 years ago that directly impacts such and such decision. I get all shaky and my heart starts to pound when people have in depth political debates in my presence. I have a new approach- never get into a political discussion, at least with anyone who I know will raise their voice. It won’t end well.

Being completely organized and/or neat. This will never be a “how to organize your life” blog. I am kind of a run with it, figure it out as you go along, probably lose an important piece of paper kind of gal. I simply cannot change. There will always be piles of paper in my home. I’ve tried to write down all of my random thoughts in one concise place, like a small notebook, but I never stick to it. I try to keep a tidy kitchen 24/7, but sometimes reading a book is way more important than washing a dish. I am who I am. I’ll say it again: I cannot change.

That being said, there is something I am good at. I have said enough about writing and reading by this point, so I will shift gears today.

I am good at sticking to a healthy diet and keeping a gluten-free, semi-vegetarian home.

Here’s my story:

Suddenly, out of nowhere, when I was a senior in high school, I developed acne. Yes, acne. It was awful. The acne formed mostly around my jawline, mouth and cheekbones. I cried myself to sleep, cried in the morning getting ready for school (I remember one devastating morning, when the makeup just wouldn’t cover up the purple/red I had going on, and I broke down in my parent’s bathroom. They didn’t know what to do) and went to the bathroom between every single class, fixing whatever I thought needed fixing… by adding more makeup. I went to a dermatologist, who gave me THREE chemical peels, an antibiotic to take 2x a day, and a face cream: Retin A. The results? I constantly felt like my face was peeling off and to the annoyance of my twin, Meredith, asked her at least ten times a day, “Does it look like my skin is peeling?” My skin was bright red all the time. I still had pimples. I still cried a lot. I remember dreaming that I woke up with smooth skin. It was really a nightmare and I woke up… never to forget that dream. (there are zero pictures to show… I shied away from the camera. I didn’t want my face documented)

There are a two factors I believe contributed to my dilemma:

partially: High stress (isn’t high school always this way? but it was a particularly bad year, mean girl-wise)

but mostly: DIET  (with the new found freedom I had in going to class later a few times a week [flex schedule, being a senior] plus driving myself there, I was for some reason possessed enough to find myself going to McDonald’s on my way to school. Can I even believe that I ever did such a thing? Barely. But I did. It was truly weeks into eating McDonald’s ~2 times a week that I started having acne. Growing up we never ate fast food. It was rare, and every time I did eat it, it made me sick [surprise, surprise].)

I didn’t see the connection between diet and skin. I just didn’t. Dermatologists don’t say, “Hey, you should really try changing your overall diet.” No. They say, “Here, let me prescribe x, and x, and x.”

I’ve said before that I love the word CAHOOTS. Well, I think dermatologists (and most western health care professionals) are in CAHOOTS with the drug companies. ***NOT ALL. There are some who I think truly care, truly believe they are doing the right thing, and only want to help.*** But there is an overwhelming majority who, I believe, are influenced by $ and $ alone. If people simply changed their diets, what would the drug companies do? Go out of business, that’s what. 

Anyway!

It took years, YEARS, for me to discover a new way of eating and living. My mother-in-law has celiac. It’s absolutely no joke. She survived cancer, caused by eating gluten when “gluten free” was a term used by no one. It’s almost funny now, because one can hardly have a symptom of sickness without her asking, “Well, do you think you might have celiac?” But I think she may be on to something. She suggested I try going gluten free to try and fix my skin problem. I didn’t really think it would help.

But then I tried it.

I started eating a gluten free diet about two years ago. My skin improved dramatically. Whenever I would “cheat” and eat gluten, guess what? A pimple would pop up, pretty much the next day. I began to see a direct correlation. So I stopped cheating. I have been eating 100% gluten free for a year and a half now. My skin has improved. During that time I also started taking my antibiotic once a day, rather than twice… and eventually stopped taking it altogether. I didn’t want to depend on something like that. I stopped applying the Retin A. I stopped seeing a dermatologist.

Want to know something kind of sad? The first 5 years of my relationship with Greg, he never once touched my face. Because I was obsessive compulsive about anything touching my face. I didn’t touch it, I changed my pillow case every night, and heaven forbid Greg touch my cheek. I wouldn’t let him. How sad is that?

I’m proud to say that now, I don’t have to worry about anything touching my face. I once said, “I want to use make up as an enhancer, not a cover up.” Now I do. I wake up, wash my face, and I sometimes put on make up, sometimes go without it. I no longer buy or use pimple cream. I stopped with those harsh cleansers… the ones claiming to be “acne fighting” and make up containing salicylic acid. None of those things helped. They only make things worse.

Now I use natural skin care products. I mostly buy MyChelle brand items, use 100% Argon oil, and a light fruit enzyme mist. That’s it!!! It’s cheaper and easier, let me tell you… than relying on prescriptions galore and all kinds of horrible make up.

My skin has never been better. And it wasn’t just the gluten free. Cutting gluten out of my diet helped, but it didn’t solve every single problem. I still had a little bit of red, my scars still needed to fade, and I’d wake up every once in a while with a blemish.

There was one more step on my road to clear skin. And I thank God every single day for what I’ve learned.

I began to eat organic. I started eating greens every single day. I stopped eating meat every day. 

Which inevitably led to educating myself on the food system in general. It’s outrageous, if you do your research. I started with Michael Pollan’s Ominvore’s Dilemma. Then I read The Food Revolution by John Robbins. Next was Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran. The list goes on, but the knowledge gained goes on forever. I began to see the connection between big companies… whether they’re GMO seed companies, like Monsanto, or big animal torturing meat companies, like Tyson, they’re all contributing to the unhealthy distribution of food. No WONDER our generation has seen an influx of medical maladies. No WONDER kids suffer with acne, obesity and overall sickness of health. Look at what we, as a nation, are eating!! “Food like substances.” That’s what. You can hardly call a McDonald’s Happy Meal food. Or happy. (I haven’t eaten fast food in over two years. It overwhelms me to think of every bad element that goes into one fast food item. I simply cannot do it.)

I try my hardest to advocate for the things I like, rather than bashing the things I cannot abide by. Like Michael Pollan says, we can vote for what we support THREE TIMES A DAY!! That’s a lot of voting. And how is that done? By what we eat. What we choose to buy… each time our food gets scanned at the grocery store… that’s a vote. I choose to vote for smaller companies, preferably organic, and to limit my meat intake, which ultimately helps water conservation, the way animals are treated, and my own health (Please, please.. I beg of you… read those books I listed above!!!)

When I started:

-cooking every meal from scratch

-eating 100% gluten free

-buying ~95% organic

-eating a ~90% plant based diet (roughly…)

my skin became perfect.

I am not here trying to boast about it. I’m not here saying that makes me, in any way, better. But it makes me happier. When I wake up, I can touch my skin and smile, feeling that it is smooth. When I look in the mirror, I no longer want to cry. (Though I have, literally, cried from the joy and hardly being able to believe that my dream of having clear skin finally came true.) I want to shout all of this from the rooftops in order to help every teenager and adult who feels like their acne just won’t go away. The solution is so simple. If I can do it, you can too.

I love this topic. I love discussions about healthy eating. PLEASE FEEL FREE to email me (mgreywilliams@gmail.com), comment on here, or contact me on facebook. I will tell you every single meal I eat, if that will help you. I’ll give tips on how to shop this way, make it affordable and tell you over and over again… it’s easy!!!

So many people blow off a good diet and use the excuses it’s too expensive or I don’t have time or I don’t believe it. Don’t let these poor excuses keep you from knowing the truth and improving your life!!! Because investing in your health today is a whole lot cheaper than paying for medical help later on in life. BE that older person who doesn’t rely on pills or a doctor. BE that person who is free from that and who lives simply.

I want to write all day about this. But I think I’ll stop here.

Just a recap…

– I had acne, which directly correlated with eating fast food, being stressed, and gluten intake

-I fixed my skin… my own way, by:

– educating myself on the current food system

– choosing to “vote” for and support local and organic food and farms

– NEVER, ever, ever, eating fast food or supporting big companies such as Monsanto, Tyson, McDonald’s, etc.

– cooking from scratch, always including healthy greens like spinach, arugula or kale

– choosing to make my household primarily vegetarian (for so many reasons… too many to write about today)

I am so excited to be sharing this with you. I hope it helps!

I just want everyone to know how attainable a healthy, glowing complexion is!!! I don’t want ANYONE to suffer the way I did. No one deserves that.

food, acne, writing

the smile I wear couldn’t BE more real :)

Love, love, love

Lou


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Three Days of Muses

I had the best three days EVER!!!! Thursday, Friday and Saturday were amazing in every way. I wish I could experience them over and over, but I’ll settle for writing about it and holding the memories in my heart forever! <3

Basically, I had a chance to see live music. Not just any live music, either. But three musical groups/individuals who inspire my writing. I mean… literally, I have written characters and entire short stories based on their songs. These three above all others. It didn’t even really dawn on me all the way until the very last night. I was brought to tears. It seemed very meant to be and I felt lucky… so lucky!!

Here’s how it went down:

THURDSDAY: WILDEWOOD

short stories, writer, new writer, poetry, young adult, novels, music

Kate Burn Photography…Wildewood

Here is where you can check out some of their music. My short story, Proud Mothers, has a strong relationship with their original song Goodbye Morgan. Lemon Moon is another song for which I’ve written a short story…but that one is a work in progress :) In one of my (currently :) ) unpublished manuscripts, a character named Mason Andrews has characteristics and plot surrounding him- all based on another original by Wildewood, a song called Keep My Distance. When I listen to their music at each and every show I make it to (which is most!) I never fail to get inspired to write something, whether directly related or not. They’re just that good!!!

FRIDAY: DEER TICK

short stories, poetry, young adult, writer, new author

Deer Tick

This picture was taken on my really old school flip phone, but hey! It’s a picture of them! You should check them out here. The lead singer of Deer Tick is also in a band called Middle Brother (favorite songs? Wilderness & Blood and Guts!!), and many of their songs inspire my writing, too. It’s also the Deer Tick song, These Old Shoes, that just so happened to be the first (and maybe last?) song I really learned to play and sing on the guitar. It was fun! To me, that’s the greatest love song of our time.

Bonus: For one song, they called a guest singer onto the stage. Guess who it was? Vanessa Carlton!!! Yeah!! I know!! It was weird. I can only picture her sitting at a huge piano, can’t you? But there she was, at a small-ish bar in Albuquerque, singing along with Deer Tick. She sounded awesome!

I would walk 1,000 miiles....

I would walk 1,000 miles….

and… drum roll please….

SATURDAY: MARK ERELLI

mark erelli, music

OMG! I was shaking!

The name may not ring a bell, but I promise you, if you listen to his music you will not be disappointed. Especially the album he recorded with Jeffrey Foucault (another person you should listen to every day!), Seven Curses. THAT album is the REASON I began to write short stories.

That’s a pretty big deal!!! At least to me it is! So you can imagine what it was like to hear Mark Erelli sing in person. The show was at a house … about fifteen people were there. A new project called “The Standing O” had him come into town and they first interviewed him, then he sang! It was just amazing. It’s the songs The First Mrs. Jones, Wyoming Wind, and Ellis Unit One that made me write my first two short stories ever, I Looked Over Jordan and Wilde Wood Saloon!! I had him sign my short stories!! How cool is that?

short stories, music, mark erelli

“Keep on writing.” Oh Mark, I will!!

The paper stapled to the top is an e-mail I printed out from over a year ago. I wrote to him and he wrote back! I never thought I would get to meet him.

And there you have it. In three days I had beer sloshed onto my feet, sweaty people mosh pitting beside me, fancy chocolate served on a table in a living room, hard cider, sparkling lemonde, and lots of awesome music (I’ll let you figure out which things go with which shows….) ;) .

Thanks Wildewood, Deer Tick and Mark Erelli!!!!!!!

And as ALWAYS, thank YOU for stopping by Hey Lou!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


11 Comments

Spring, Sallys, and Smiles

writer, new writer, garden, author, short stories, young adult

Our garden!!!

It seems as though spring is here… at least in the South Valley. It has been warm and therefore, Greg and I have spent every possible moment outside. When it’s warm we eat every meal in the backyard. We take walks. We bird watch… I smile WAY more. The sunshine makes life that much better. (Look! I even started hanging up my clothes to dry!!!)

Thanks to a friend who is a PRO at gardening and growing crops, we have had hoop houses set up all winter. Look what’s inside!!

garden, young adult, author, short stories

LETTUCE!!!

We picked lettuce (organic!! omg! hooray!!) straight from the backyard, took it inside, washed it, and ate it about ten minutes after picking. I doubt I’ve ever eaten such a nutritious salad before in my life.

gardening, author, young adult

salad aka sally!!

Greg and I call salads “sallys.” Sometimes, if we’ve eaten heavy all week, one of us will say, “Hey Lou? Can we just have sally tonight?”

The answer is always YES!!!

Also- I made the best dressing. Wanna know what was in it? Here, I’ll tell you!

-jalepeno pepper sauce

-olive oil

-dijon mustard

I just poured a little of each and voila! Sally dressing.

salad, young adult, organic, author

yummmm

dressing, salad, young adult, author

mason jar… yay for no plastic

After some bird watching, eating outside, and enjoying the beautiful day, we are two very content Lous.

<3

young adult, author, short stories

:)

 

 

 

 


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Things I {Hate To} Love

Things I {Hate To} Love

I don’t know if it’s just because so many things I love fall under that famous “stuff white people like” list, or because some of these things are just embarrassing, but I felt the need to add the “I hate” to this. We all feel that way sometimes, right? We hate to love the pop song that won’t stop being played everywhere we go -because what’s more unoriginal than liking something that the whole world apparently does, too? People like to be their own person. I totally get that. They like to be “the first person to love that band/song/product and now everyone does and it’s so annoying.”

But here is my unashamed list:

1. Twilight

This is a blog about writing and fiction, so here you go. I’ll admit it: I have been to more than one Twilight party, okay? The first time I read the series was my sophomore year of college. Greg and I were doing long distance (he was living in Nashville going to Belmont University) and all you have when you’re doing L.D. is phone conversations. Though I still missed him terribly, I pretty much ignored him for two weeks while I read through the entire series non-stop. I’d be half way listening at night… and he’d say, “Okay, just finish the book. Goodnight. I love you.” Which was great. I’m glad he was so understanding! I love a good love story. And Edward… the Edward in my mind, not the one on screen, is the best looking person in the world. (besides Greg ;)..)

writer, new writer, short stories, twilight

My first Twilight party… notice how we’re doing the book cover pose!

writer, new writer, short stories, twilight

My first premier! We were so tired!

HOWEVER: I couldn’t read the series a second time. I tried… but I got too bored during New Moon. It is actually pretty cheesy.

2. Gotye: Somebody That I Used To Know

I know, I know! Somebody please get the radio stations to stop playing that song! I have a special love of this one for many reasons. Not only does it evoke so much emotion in me that I almost WISH I could relate to the song (almost…), but it’s one of the few things I can say I really did like before it got huge… I mean, I first watched the you tube video when maybe only 1 million had watched it. Ha Ha. I got to it before it was on the radio, at least. I love it! It’s emotional! He’s shouting at her! His teeth are huge! I love it! He looks good with paint on his face! She is like a better version of Katy Perry! I loooove it.

PLUS: His other stuff is great. Check out Save Me and Heart’s A Mess… amazing songs!

3. Miley Cyrus: Party In The USA

I can really sing along to this one. Plus, I have been to numerous weddings where this was the song that made the dance floor come to life. It’s awesome! Also: Miley looks great after cutting out wheat and getting engaged.

writer, new writer, short stories, miley cyrus

My friend Jeremy and me… actually dancing to this song at our friend’s wedding!! It was awesome we got a picture!

4. T. Swift

Don’t we all? Mean is my theme song (I wish it had come out when I was in high school!). Ours is another (don’t even get me started on the music video!! tears!!). And the songs about horrible relationships? Well, I can’t exactly relate, but they get to me! {As long as the word “princess” isn’t in her song, I’ll probably really <3 it. (that theme was something I found way too cheesy and overdone and didn’t like at all!)} She’s great. I don’t necessarily want to love Taylor, but I do. She’s cute and always looks like a Pinterest picture. PLUS: She met my older sister at a spa in Minnesota and told her she was beautiful, which Jessica most certainly is :)

5. Jane Austen

I’m not exactly sure why it struck me to add her to my list, but when I took my Jane Austen class in college there were a lot of haters. Some people prefer the zombie versions of all of her books, but not moi. Her books make me cry and laugh. I get so swept up in the suspense of the love she evokes… Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are my two favorite Jane Austen books! I understand that some people hate the cliched love. Some people think her stories are filled with swooning women who are forced to stay at home and men who take advantage of the situation. But man… sometimes that whole way of life just doesn’t seem all that bad. Why not have a man ride up on horseback and ask permission to speak with you? Why not curl your hair, wear beautiful dresses, and speak properly? I like that romantic way of life. It’s not perfect… but neither is the way of life now.

6. Whiskey

I actually don’t hate to love this at all. I just love it. I was recently introduced to a fine rye whiskey and I sipped on a tiny amount for about an hour (thanks, Will!!) … and YUM!!! The aftertaste was like HONEY!!! Which just so happens to be my favorite food of all time. No getting drunk for me- I don’t have to get past “warm and tingly” to enjoy some of this alcoholy. {I just might be sipping on some right now. Don’t judge me… my house is freezing.}

writer, new writer, short stories, whiskey

My first spirit purchase

7. Tattoos

Don’t hate this one at all, either, actually. I love them. I live vicariously through anyone who has them. They’re beautiful and daring and stylish…. I just haven’t had the nerve to get some ink. {If I ever do, it will say “two and two are four.” Read 1984, people!} All who have- you are my hero. Don’t be surprised if I approach you and ask you about your tattoo. I do it all the time.

7. The Wire

I already cuss a little bit too much, but this show put me over the edge. And Bodie…and Omar… don’t even get me started on how much I love them both. I had never even heard of this show before a friend let us borrow the DVD of all five seasons. Apparently it’s something that “everyone loves and is overrated…” but I just don’t see it.

8. Organic Food

Really, it’s pretty much all I buy. It’s always shocking, but some people love to give me a hard time about this one. Why? Why is it so crazy that I want clean and healthy food, which preferably didn’t use up millions of gallons of oil to get to my kitchen table? It’s important! I don’t want to be preachy or anything, but after I read Michael Pollan’s Ominvore’s Dilemma I was like okay. I get it. If you want something a little lighter… Food Rules by M.P. will do just fine, too. These books changed my life. Literally, I could hardly function in society for almost a month after reading them. I eventually settled down a bit, but I still feel very strongly about the food industry. Did you know? …Other countries (think France…) spend up to 20% of their income on food. That’s compared to our very low average… some as low as 6%. Greg and I made a very conscious decision to spend more of our income on GOOD food, and less on other things. For instance, I’m not a TV hater (shout out Cindy! haha), but we do not own a TV at the moment. We are saving money by not paying for cable or the actual TV! We dress like onions (layers and layers!) in order to keep our heating bill down. We don’t make meat the biggest portion of any meal, but get our protein in there, as well as our veggies. The outcome? We feel great and we have fun buying the ingredients for every meal we make. :)

9. Tea

It’s just funny, because right when we started saying “I am just really into tea right now!”, someone showed me that dang “stuff white people like list,” and that quote is basically on there. I love it. Green and white are the best!!

10. My Husband’s Beard

I guess this made the list because it does make us a little more hipster-y than we already are. (Greg’s brother gives us a hard time… but I’ll always deny the fact that Greg and I are hipsters. I don’t have quite that much energy to wear that type of clothing every day! But my older sister did give me a birthday card that said “Hippy Birthday”… hmmm. Oh yeah, and Greg works at Whole Foods, plays in a folksy americana band and wears Clarks. Haha) Anyway, back to the beard. It’s kind of messy and food gets trapped in it… but it’s cute! I encourage it. Bonus: I have this weird obsession with Abe Lincoln, so there’s also that appeal! However, Greg just trimmed it this week, so we have a while to go again before it’s quite up to Abe standards.

writer, new writer, short stories, author, beard

I heart his beard! <3

11. Single-Origin Coffee

See 9. Tea

12. Being A Good Wifey

I’m old fashioned in this way. I’m not quite a feminist, at least in terms of what that usually means in this day and age. (don’t pretend like you don’t know what I mean!) I like the idea of being the best wife I can be, having kids (eventually), and cooking meals, but just as long as Greg does all of those things too! (minus having the kids part, of course!) I know some women who really loathe the idea. I say, as long as I’m happy and laugh at least 20 times a day, life is good. Also, if I get my share of stuff done, Greg will, too. A good marriage means being a team, and I like playing my role there. I don’t really care if that’s buying into some trick that our society has ingrained in me. I like it anyway!

13. Natural, or “Eastern” Medicine

Now, let me start this one by saying that I do love Western medicine, too. I wouldn’t be alive (a few times over) if it weren’t for modern Western medicine, in fact. (I was born blue. I had my appendix taken out my Sophomore year of college. Thank you, very much!) However, I am totally against over medication and over dependence on over-the-counter drugs. I am terrified to O.D. on Tylenol. Seriously. I grew up with a mom who only really gave us Bayer Aspirin (“…because it’s been around the longest!”) and only when we really needed it. In my (very non-medically educated) opinion, there’s hardly anything that a good night’s sleep, kale, and some hot tea with honey and lemon can’t cure. The last time I thought I was getting sick, Greg made me our “Be Well” soup, and voila! I was better right away. We pretty much throw anything healthy we can think of, and mostly kale, into a mostly water broth and eat it for a few days. It’s absolutely amazing. I like the idea of herbs and healthy eating… I love the idea of prevention through what we eat, rather than using drugs to cover up the damage done. Being dependent on a massive amount of pills makes me so sad for people. I think there are other options in some cases (but definitely not all!! remember… I know it took more than kale to get my almost ruptured appendix out of me!!). Food dye, pesticides, and over usage of drugs is more of a medical problem than most people would like to admit.

Okay, I think I’m done. There are lots of other things I love, but I’ll probably make a “part 2” for this topic. I wanted to write this post for a few reasons. One is that I have had some great people in my life who were unashamed to love what they loved. Take my older sisters, for instance. Emily loves Hanson, from the moment they first struck it big, all through people hating them, and even now. They ARE great. If you think otherwise, take a listen to some recent Hanson stuff. I saw them in concert and it was one of the best shows I’ve been to!! Also, Emily likes the band One Direction. Sure, they’re very poppy, hardly real musicians, and their songs all have the same sort of ring to them. But they’re cute, their songs are fun to listen to and they’re British! She likes them! She isn’t afraid of it! AND she won a trip to New York to see them in concert!! So cool!!!

Then there’s my sweet older sister Jessica. She loves faeries (spelled that way!) and glitter and anything girly and beautiful. She has always been herself. Growing up, there were times when I thought, “Wow, that’s odd…” but now I always think, “Wow, that’s so cool!! She’s doing what she loves! She doesn’t care what other people think!!”

Meredith and I have looked up to them all our lives and found inspiration and bravery because of their fearless love for whatever they, well, loved.

It’s fun to sing along to songs on the radio, no matter how overplayed or popular the song is. It’s fun to read a book, even when there are people who want to say it’s stupid and only for silly girls. I love getting lost in something. And hey… there’s a reason those things get super popular! For the most part, they’re great!

<3