To eat *meat or to not eat *meat – that is one of the burning questions out in The Land of Health Food right now.  Does eating *meat cause diabetes?  The amount of stuff out there on the interwebs about this very topic is plentiful.  The arguments back and forth would take you a year to wade through, not to mention make you feel all stabby (think arguing, rudeness, one-upping, lies, other assorted unnecessary nonsense, blah, blah, blah) and by the end of it all you still wouldn’t know the answer and would probably be more confused, not less.  (*where meat = fresh and minimally processed as opposed to highly processed meat products with sugars / additives / preservatives and other crap added to them ie. hotdogs, some deli meats, etc).

So, in order to reduce any confusion to zero in the shortest possible time I enlisted the help of the brilliant Dr. Ted Naiman who has the amazing ability to reduce the most complex things into “Duh!” moments. www.carriebrown.com | Does Eating Meat Cause Diabetes | Ted Naiman

Lovely readers – I give you my shortest post ever.

You’re welcome.

Now, with all the time you have that you don’t need to spend reading about whether or not *meat causes diabetes – go do something fun!

 

(Ted also wrote the foreword for my ‘Drink Smarter! Beverages’ cookbook.  Thanks, Ted!)

 

 

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I always used to say that I liked a bit of bread with my butter.  Now, thanks to going wheat-, gluten-, and grain-free I can just skip the bread altogether.  Winning!

Do you remember the best butter you ever ate?  I do.  9 years ago – almost to the day – I was dining with some business colleagues at a Michelin 3-starred restaurant in Paris owned by Alain Ducasse who is arguably one of the finest chefs in the world.  Alain joined us for the cheese course, dessert, and coffee (one of our party was Alain’s neighbor and another was the Vice President of Microsoft, hence the privilege of having Alain at our table).  He had a cellar full of 100-year-old aged cheeses, and wines that cost more money than I earn in a month.  But what made me want to marry him was this: he made his own butter.  I remember the color – which rightfully should have it’s own Pantone number, the consistency, and oh la la that very first taste.  I swear my heart beat a little faster.  I stopped eating, turned in wonder to my beautiful French friend, Coralie, and declared, “I just want butter for dinner”.  She nodded slowly.  She understood.

Things you need to know about butter include that you should exclusively be using it as opposed to any other spreadable butter-like stuff.  There should be nothing that even vaguely resembles butter in your ‘fridge or pantry that isn’t actually butter.  It’s *real* butter or nothing!  Down with butter imposters!  (In the interests of my quest to write shorter posts, along with not being the science nerd around here, and having neither the time nor inclination to write the why, read this.)

You should exclusively be using butter that has been made from the milk of cows that are grass-fed.  If you live outside the US you might well be wondering why I am even mentioning this (because all cows eat grass, right??). If you live in the US you might well be wondering why I am even mentioning this (because butter is butter is butter, right??).  No and no.  (If you didn’t read the link in the last paragraph and want to know why the answer to both those questions is no, read this.)  And if you have any doubts about how the quality of milk can be dramatically affected by the diet of the milk-producer, read this.

I use Kerrygold Irish Butter.  It is the gold standard for grass-fed butter in the US.  It tastes and cooks nothing like regular American butter.  Try it once and you will never go back.

 

happy cows

 

You should keep your butter in a covered dish out on the counter.  Americans – this includes you.  Unless you live somewhere where the ambient room temperature renders butter into a puddle, or it takes you a month to get through one package – and if it does then that’s a different conversation that we need to have.  It will not go bad if you don’t keep it in the ‘fridge.  75 million Brits have never put their butter in the ‘fridge and there has never been one single case of RTBP (Room Temperature Butter Poisoning) reported.  Why keep it on the counter?  Because soft and delicious.  And because not hard and tasteless.  Hard butter makes everything difficult whether you’re just trying to spread it on any of these or you’re whipping up magic.  Hard butter is very annoying.  Room temperature butter is delightful.

You should buy your Kerrygold in bulk at Costco so you can get it for much cheaper than the grocery stores and make sure that you never run out (in the US the next cheapest place to get Kerrygold is at Trader Joe’s).  You can store your bulk stash in the freezer, then once you need it transfer it to your covered dish and store it on the counter.  I am repeating this ‘on the counter’ part because I know some of you Americans are sitting there with your hands over your ears singing, “La la la la la la la la”.

And lastly, we have arrived at what is probably the best tip I have given you on anything, ever. And it’s a tip on butter.

I have no idea how I’ve been writing here for over 4 years and not shared this before.  When you forget to take the golden goodness out of the freezer in advance (or you are still steadfastly refusing to store it on the counter) and you have some of these rising in the oven, to avoid a disaster of colossal proportions when you realize that you won’t be able to slather on some yellow heaven and eat one hot from the baking sheet, here’s how to soften your butter in a heartbeat:  GRATE IT.  It is even quicker than microwaving it and is foolproof, which microwaving is most definitely not. Come on – own up. How many times have you microwaved your butter for half a second too long and ended up with a puddle?  Seriously, grate it.  Big side on the box grater over a plate or bowl.  Grate, grate, grate, done.  Two minutes later you will have perfect, evenly soft, spreadable butter.

Alain Ducasse, you can still butter me up anytime.

 

 

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  • Vanessa - My mother was afraid of fats and is still terrified of animal products. (She’s positive I’m going to keel over from the 90-120 grams of protein – mostly chicken, eggs and sardines – I eat daily, even though I’m also eating 10-15 servings of veggies.)

    As a result, I need a lot of help in the recipes-using-butter department. So far I’ve managed to successfully add it to sauteed green beans with garlic (yum!). What other non-baking things is it good in? Because the chances of me baking this year are earthworm-slim.ReplyCancel

I’ve started a file in my brain labeled ‘Awesome Things That Have Happened Since I Started Detoxing My Body’.  This (fingers crossed) short post comes from that file, because it’s been a while since I gave you a progress report.

As I was lying in bed at some ridiculous hour this morning not sleeping I was reminded how miraculous it is to not have stinky ‘pits after rolling around in bed all night under a sea of blankets and two overly furry Ragdolls, right after having a sauna. (Mr. McHenry on the left(ish), Daisy on the right, and yes I had to lie diagonally across the bed).  I was undoubtedly reminded of the lack of stinkiness because when you’re lying down your nose is somehow much closer to your underarms.  (This is especially true when you’re lying down and have one arm raised high in the air while you take a picture of your right hip with two fluffy cats attached to it).

www.carriebrown.comI determined that your life might well be improved if you knew that stinky ‘pits are not – in fact – just a part of life’s rich tapestry.  I’d always just gone along with the notion that you sweat, it has an odor, and if you don’t wash it off and apply antiperspirants and deodorant at least daily you’ll end up morphing into Billy Nomates. Except for your cat(s) (and I suspect dog(s) ) who will gladly still hang out with you on the basis that 1. it’s not your fault, 2. someone has to, and 3. food.  Plus, your clothes will never smell perfectly fresh again – no matter what you do. Bummer.

Well I am here to tell you lovely readers that this is all a shameful lie banded about by (I suspect) people who can make dosh from your less-than-ideal situation and your desire not to be hauled up in front of HR at work for mandatory counseling around personal hygiene.  And, I also suspect that most doctors were not told in medical school that stinky ‘pits are not normal, so they never took it upon themselves to mention that something might be out of whack if we’re a little whiffy.

Wait. What? Do I still sweat? Honey, you should see me after 30 hot and heavy minutes in the sauna! Sweat City, USA.  But NO ODOR.

Have I done an experiment where I deliberately slept in the same t-shirt every night for a week having not applied antiperspirants or deodorant for said week?  Why yes. Yes I have. But NO ODOR. (Do I still sleep in the same t-shirt every night for a week now the experiment is over? No. No I don’t).  PS. I did not leave the house that week – in case you work with me and are now wondering if you were an unwitting participant in my sanitary experiment).

I noticed around 4 months into my treatment plan that my ‘pits no longer perfumed the air, and the only reasonable conclusion to draw is that producing a somewhat unpleasant odor from one’s armpits is not the body’s modus operandi when everything is working as it should.  Now malodorous ‘pits may well be ‘normal’ in that most everyone seems to have them, but if we think of the word normal as what should be rather than what happens in most people then smelly underarms are abnormal.  And you can make it stop.

Here’s the rub: I can’t tell you exactly what was causing the smellies or what I added or took away or changed that made it stop.  I just know that after figuring out WTF was wrong with me and systematically removing things, adding things, and changing things in order to address all my physical symptoms and detox my body my production of semi-offensive underarm aroma has stopped.  So I’d just like to suggest that everything in your bod is maybe not working as tickety-boo as you thought if you are still having to use antiperspirants and deodorant every day to stop the stink.  I do not miss stinky ‘pits.

Along similar lines – I can now go at least 5 days without having to wash my hair.  And what I mean by that is 5 days after I’ve washed my crowning glory it still looks like I’ve just washed it.  Which for girls with long locks who have had to wash their hair almost every. single. day. of. their. entire life is right up there with dating Ryan Gosling, winning the lottery, or magically having a body like Elle MacPhearson while eating 38 boxes of Krispy Kremes a day and doing no exercise.

Now I don’t know what made my body stop producing the oils that made my hair dirty approximately 15 hours after I washed it, but what I do know is it no longer does that and my hair looks and feels better than it has since I was a teenager – probably due to the fact that I am not washing and using drying tools on it every day.  My hairdresser calls it, “Doll hair”.  Ridiculously soft, silky, and shiny.  Like baby hair only on a grown-up (except the days I am channeling Pebbles).  Do you have any idea how much this is saving me in time and product??!  I’d take a stab at healthy hormones being the answer, but that’s a guess.  Honestly, I don’t really care, I just know that it’s a huge change and it’s awesome.  I do not miss hair that needs washing 15 hours after I washed it.

As an aside, the products I use when hair washing time does come around are these.  They are the other reason that I have doll hair now.  I have never found products that make my hair feel or look the way these do.  When I went road-tripping to Colorado last month I slapped this hair mask on my hair and tied it up in a ballerina bun for a few days (yes, a few days – you totally couldn’t tell my hair was slathered in goop).  The result was amazing.  Hair-mask-ballerina-bun is now an every-other-weekend ritual at the Brown house (a very small amount goes a very long way even on long hair).  Even better is because I now only use hair product so infrequently these products last me for ages and end up costing very little per use.  Their hand cream is also ridiculously good and the intensive body treatment does things I never knew were possible for dry, cracked skin.

And as if those two things weren’t enough, here’s my favorite thing I don’t miss: taking Bi-polar medications.  I am still entirely unmedicated after a little over 8 months, and there has been no fallout.  No symptoms of Bi-polar. None.  And if that isn’t a freaking miracle I don’t know what is.

I will never get tired of telling you this stuff. GO, detox!

PS. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting about various detox protocols I use because you might not know where to start and it’s a minefield out there because of all the usual money-grabbing snake-oil salesmen out there with only one goal in life – taking your $$$ regardless of whether they give you anything of value in return.

 

 

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  • nofixedstars - thanks for your writing about getting healthy…it’s ever so useful to have an honest, real, and yes—sane—voice blogging about these things.

    cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Debra - Yes, yes, yes. This is exactly what we want to hear about😊ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Debra, who knew?! (If only you knew how long it took me to say, ‘Oh what the heck I’m just going to post about stinky armpits!”)ReplyCancel

  • Mary Reynolds - Thanks for this. I usually don’t have stinky pits tho I don’t detox. But I do eat healthy most of the time, so maybe that’s a part of it. I have reduced my carbs significantly. My man does modified Atkins and his “gas” no longer forces me out of a room, tho he swears he misses my reaction, lol.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Oh, Mary – this made me laugh out loud when I read it! Thanks for giving me a giggle :-)ReplyCancel

  • Mendi - Thank you so much! I have missed your posts and find myself periodically checking Facebook and your blog to see if you were back yet. I worried for awhile and then told myself you were much better and therefore busy living and not writing. So glad to have you back and writing in such an open, honest way. I am really looking forward to reading about your journey and your life hacks and tips, big and small. My health journey is better but has stagnated a little, so I am looking forward to some fresh ideas from someone I know is sharing what has really helped and not just trying to sell snake oil!ReplyCancel

What is this madness??  That’s right, kids: another post just a week after the last one.  And while I am thinking about last week’s post I want to say, “You’re awesome”, and “Thank you”, and “I am here because of you”, to everyone who commented and emailed and otherwise connected with me after reading it.  And truly, I am very grateful that you love me warts and all because the transition to a new format may well be a little clunky. Which brings me to the reason for this post: I’m all-or-nothing. Go big or go home. I’m gonna do something and knock it out the ball park or I’m not even gonna look at the ball.  I’m just not a half-assed kinda girl.

Having an all-or-nothing mindset can be a really awesome thing in life.  When it comes to getting s*** done, remodeling your kitchen single-handedly, writing a cookbook in 5 weeks, becoming an expert at something, sticking to a plan, seeing things through to the end, producing really high quality stuff, being trustworthy, developing recipes that taste great and actually work, being known for excellence, living with integrity, making things easier for those around you, and all manner of other stuff, not being half-assed can reap huge rewards.  It can also be a real handicap to ALL OF THE ABOVE.  It is both a blessing and a curse.  It is the thing I love the most and hate the most about myself.  Huh?

And therein lies the problem: it can be both a help and a hindrance to just about every situation.  Why?  Because as much as it has enabled me to do extraordinary things, there are other things I won’t even start if I don’t think I can or will finish them perfectly.  So I miss out on the experience, the learning, the growth, (not to mention the possibility that I might – in fact – do a great job), and those around me miss out (although they don’t know it) on the results, which even though not perfect might still be useful.  And useful is good.  Useful can be *really* good. And while I fully appreciate that useful can be really good, I struggle with allowing myself to sit somewhere between all and nothing because it feels like an excuse to enable sub-par to be acceptable.  So let me be clear that I am not advocating for crappy, sloppy work.  I am not suggesting we all lower our standards and be content with mediocre – heaven knows the entire interwebs are crammed with mediocre.  I’m saying that doing your best from where you are with what you have is the best way to get started – and more often than not is better than not getting started at all.  The trick is to get started, do the best you can, and then once you’ve gained some traction, got into a rhythm, and aren’t feeling overwhelmed, up your game a notch.  You don’t always need to wait until everything is perfect before you start.

I remember years ago when I was still living in England how I would fly into a blind panic ahead of a visit from my mother because my house was not in (her definition of) perfect order.  In most everyone else’s definition my house looked like a showroom, but that’s beside the point.  I would run myself ragged making sure that not one fleck of dust remained and nothing was even one measly millimeter out of place.  And still she would stride in and start moving the cushions.  Years later a friend from Canada was visiting me in Seattle for the first time and when I expressed my mental pandemonium at his imminent arrival because my house wasn’t in (my definition of) perfect he drawled, “I’m coming to see you, not your house”, which pretty much put things into perspective for me, and in this instance the all of all-or-nothing did nothing except give me unnecessary anxiety. And seriously, when was the subjective ‘perfectness’ of a home more important than a relationship? Time to rethink any relationship where you can envisage the state of your home truly being more important than you to the other person.

For anyone curious enough – and everyone who needs a quick mental break from all the text – here is a snap of my house when I am not expecting anyone.  That’s Zebedee snuggling on the couch with me.

www.carriebrown.comAs a more relevant example to the subject at hand: there are so many little tips and tricks I’ve learned over the last 10 months while I’ve been unraveling my health issues, and yet I haven’t shared any of them with you.  Why?  Because every time I got all excited about sharing something with you, I’ve run to the computer and ground to a screeching halt.  “I don’t know everything there is to know about this Thing”, “I can’t make a complete post out of that”, “It would be a really short post”, “I don’t have a good picture to go with it”, “It’s not about food so people won’t want to read it”, blah, blah, blah.  And so the post doesn’t get written and you don’t get to know the really cool Thing that I have discovered that is helping me be healthier, smarter, saner, whatever.

There’s a whole bunch of other things that I have procrastinated on because I feel overwhelmed about getting started thanks to this all-or-nothing way my brain works. Invariably once I get off the starting blocks I find things are never as difficult as I imagined they would be and I always end up wondering why I didn’t start sooner.  Changing the format of the blog is part of getting started, because heaven knows I’ve been procrastinating on it for far too long.  I am going to assume that if it’s a little clunky to begin with you’ll just bear with me, take what’s of value and leave what isn’t.  Likewise if it’s not helpful, useful, inspiring, has no value, or just plain old sucks you’ll tell me.

I am one of those people who 99% of the time does not open her mouth unless I am 99.9% sure that what I am saying is true.  You might find this a stretch if you’ve listened to me natter away on the podcasts, but in person I rarely open my mouth.  This makes writing a blog hard, because I won’t put pen to paper unless I know exactly what I am talking about.  This approach definitely has it merits, but it also has a lot of downsides.

There are some things I will very happily never compromise on – where all-or-nothing will forever be my mantra. For one I’m looking at you, recipes.  I simply will not post a recipe that does not work and does not taste great. I will never scrape recipes from someone else’s site (and I’d stab myself before I used someone else’s recipe without giving proper attribution), post a recipe without a picture of the dish (that I took), or fail to make sure that the recipe has no errors in it.  I want you to be confident before you buy ingredients and put forth the effort that you are going to get an edible and enjoyable result (notwithstanding personal taste, of course).  I remember being steadfast with our beloved Jonathan when he would suggest things like, “Can we just swap out this ingredient for that one”, or “Why not make it a whole egg instead of just the white” and I’d be all, “NO. NO. NO. It might not work, I haven’t tested it, and it might taste awful. NO.”  Because non-chefs often don’t understand (and why would they?) that cooking – especially baking – is a science and you can’t just swap things out willy-nilly and expect them still to work and taste great. It matters. It matters a lot.

There are an alarming number of cookbooks and blogs out there that consist of recipes stolen from someone else without any attribution. Stolen recipes that have been tweaked to make them seem original but then not tested (so who knows if they even work or what they taste like), and recipes scraped from someone else’s work with just the name changed to make it not seem so obviously stolen.  Then there are recipes with images that are of  different dishes entirely and not taken by the “author” but also stolen from elsewhere.  I’d rather hang up my hat altogether than churn out rubbish and / or dish up plain old plagiarism. Nope. Not doing it. You deserve better. Much better.  Of course, the people who do this kind of stuff simply don’t care about integrity or honesty. They want $$ and they’ll try and get them anyway they can.

But there are times when all-or-nothing just isn’t the best approach.  Thankfully I have learned not to apply all-or-nothing to my photography, because if I did that then I would not have shared ONE. SINGLE. IMAGE that I’ve ever shot because none of them are perfect.  But I learned that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.  It never ceases to amaze me which of my images people just fall over themselves to buy so they can hang them on their walls or pop them in a frame, and which images have others going “Meh” about.  I will never create a perfect image, but I have come to realize that my definition of perfection is different from everyone else’s and despite my thoughts about my images there are still plenty of people who are inspired or moved or simply just entertained by the images I create.  So who am I to keep them from the world?

So I am going to try writing shorter blog posts – short little ditties with a quick update or a little life hack that doesn’t need a novel to explain it.  And I am going to be a lot more active on more social media platforms because they allow me to post little snippets of goodness quickly instead of saving everything up for one enormous blog post that it takes me an eternity to write.  We can stay connected without me feeling terrible for not having posted some mother of a blog post or a full-blown recipe, given that the time I get to spend here is {regrettably} less than it was.

All-or-nothing: What’s this got to do with you?

It occurred to me while I was thinking about all this earlier that it applies equally to diets.  An all-or-nothing approach could take you from overweight and sick to slim and vibrant.  Equally it could prevent you from getting started on any dietary change at all.  On the surface that last statement is entirely unhelpful to you.  What’s the right and the wrong approach here?  Should we be all-or-nothing when it comes to diets?  That depends.  My purpose for bringing this up is to make you aware, and then to make you think.  Does all-or-nothing light your fire and make you determined to do whatever you need to do to reach your health goals, or does all-or-nothing paralyze you because it feels overwhelming and you are not sure that you can keep it up?  Either way – the important thing to bear in mind when it comes to diets is this: PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION.  It is better to take baby steps consistently towards better health than go all-out for perfection and then quit when you slip.  Go all-out if that’s your brain’s way and you can be hardcore in your execution.  But if that’s not you, just get started.  Take a step in the right direction and then another one.  It you fall backwards a step, just take another step forward.  And another.  Dieting isn’t about all-or-nothing, it’s about getting a little bit healthier every day.

So while I am working on being a little less all-or-nothing with my blog, find something in your life that would benefit from you being a little less all-or-nothing with.  If you’ve been procrastinating on some big scary thing, get started.  If you need to move the needle on your health, take the first step.

We got this.

 

(Yes, this was supposed to be a short post. Hey, it’s a post :-) )

 

 

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  • Kerry - Carrie this post is brilliant you are one of the most nicest honest and caring people I know. And to be British is the icing on the cake. Your sense of humour is hilirous, I can so relate to you I’m British and I’ll soon be moving to San Jose CA which is so exciting. I feel like I actually know you on a personal level. I just want to say thank you, you’ve helped me such a lot with advice. Keep doing what your doing if it makes you happy because you are making such a difference to people’s lives. XxReplyCancel

    • carrie - I hope you love it here, Kerry!! (Welcome to no one ever understanding what your name is or how to spell it :-) ) If you’re ever in Seattle – look me up!ReplyCancel

  • Debra - Lots of wisdom here😊Check out Carole Tuttles energy profiling system. I’m a T4 and you sound very much like that same energy. She has huge insight into Living Your Truth. I’ve learned a lot from her. I’m excited to hear what you have to share.ReplyCancel

  • Debra Ulrich - Years ago my sis showed up unannounced at my door with an elderly friend of hers. I had been SEVERELY depressed and the house looked like pure s–t. I explained this and begged them to understand that I could not invite them in. They INSISTED they were there to see me, not my house. I finally caved and let them in. The women sat very rigidly and refused my offer of cake and coffee.

    The next day my sis called to say the woman had refused refreshments because “She said it was the dirtiest house she had ever seen and she did not want to touch anything”

    Two lessons learned . .. first. . they say they could care less about how your house looks. . . they are lying.

    Lesson two . . my sis is a b==ch.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Hence my suggestion to rethink any relationship where it turns out the house is more important than seeing you!ReplyCancel

  • Popcorn - “So I am going to try writing shorter blog posts – short little ditties with a quick update or a little life hack that doesn’t need a novel to explain it.”

    Wheeeeeeee!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Beth Gildersleeve - Short or long, I’ll take whatever wisdom you share.ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa - I did a little happy dance when I got the notification that there was a new post here.

    I giggled a little when I realized you’d written a novel explaining that there would be shorter posts ahead, because it reminds me of the time I decided to try new vegetables…and promptly made a list of 18 new vegetables to buy that very day. You’re in good company, Carrie!ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - I, too, and an “all-or nothing” kind of person. AND, struggle with perfectionism. I believe we have our parents (or other mentor) to point at for that lovely trait. : ( (and I am sure our parents got it from their parents, and so forth.)

    Once I realized both of these personality traits were not helpful to me, I worked – and continue to work – at changing them. But they do still seem to hover in the background of my mind.

    Carrie: I will enjoy and appreciate your posts – and you – whether long or short.

    Best,ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - I love reading your posts Carrie! Short works for me. Then I get time to chew on a nugget instead of digesting a banquet.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - Oh I like that, Nancy! That helps me feel better about writing short posts – thanks :-)ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Agreed! Long or short, we will love them. :)ReplyCancel

  • Ellen - Another breath of fresh air – thanks, Carrie!ReplyCancel

If my brain was fitted with a Bluetooth device that could send all my thoughts to my blog without me having to type them, there would have been a new post every single day for the last 5 months that I’ve been MIA, because while there may have been zero typing around here, there’s been a LOT of thinking going on.  If Mr. McHenry or Daisy would just buckle up and learn to type I could have dictated more blog posts than you could’ve read in a year, there’s been that much contemplation afoot.

Since the end of January there has also been countless hours of reading, a substantial amount of napping, 5000 10,500-odd miles of road-tripping, some 6 million daffodils, a profusion of experiments to hide the taste of ascorbic acid in Liposomal Vitamin C (yes! I’ve been back in the kitchen!), an amazingly badass mentor, a rain-forest, a few Big Breakfast Adventures, the installation of a sauna in my garage, more water than I think I’ve drunk in the the previous 10 years of my life, days surfing The Internet reading articles, blog posts, and papers on nutrition, a significant quantity of really good chocolate, a house-guest from Europe, migration to an iPhone (!!!), a somewhat scary load of Trader Joe’s Pork Belly, several conversations with England, movie nights with my BFF, an outrageous volume of sautéed leeks, daily Comedy Hours hosted by Mr. McHenry – often with Florence as special guest, an abundance of magnesium flake baths, a trip to the Landscape and Garden Show which *almost* resulted in the purchase of one of these for my yard and did result in the purchase of some Haitian oil drum art: because awesome.  There’ve been far, *far* too many extra hours at the day job, the odd spot of gardening, an abundance of lamb chops, pork chops, duck thighs, and bison burgers, a blissful quota of saunas, all the usual laundry, car maintenance (yep, broke my brakes in Colorado and wore out my tire treads in Utah), lawn-mowing, dish-washing, vacuuming, grocery-shopping, sheet-changing, toilet-cleaning, pruning, mopping and other assorted home-dwellers requirements, and, after 25 years of not drinking – a few bottles of vino (I did not slurp it all at once).  Did I mention far too many hours at the day job?

www.carriebrown.com

Holy smokes.  Makes me wonder how I even found time for thinking, let alone writing.  And now, here I am, finally back at the keyboard attempting to become a human Bluetooth while simultaneously rebooting my typing abilities less than 2 weeks 1 week before I head out on another road-trip when I still haven’t shared the adventures of the last one two three four six.  And boy, what grand adventures they were!  Sigh.

Now you might think that the reason I haven’t been writing is obvious.  That it was simply because I’ve been far too busy doing all of the above, plus, you know, gallivanting around the western United States shooting pretty things and generally scratching my explorer itch; but that wouldn’t be true because I could have chosen to write instead of doing much of what I did spend my time on.  And since one of the things I like most about myself (and also the thing that bites me in the a** most) is that I tell it how it is, I don’t feel good about letting you think I was just busy being busy with life.

If I boil it all down I would say there’s 3 things that have kept me from being here like I used to be.  WARNING: this could very well get rambly and maybe even a little ranty.  I am just letting my thoughts go where they will.  Feel free to tell me how you feel about it in the comments.  Here’s a very lovely daffodil to soften the blow.

www.carriebrown.com

First, and most important: the hugely underrated R ‘n’ R.  When you’re going through the fundamental healing processes that I have been since last September things can go much faster if you rest.  When you’re detoxing like it’s your job, napping is right up there at the top of the most important things to do.  I’m not a good napper.  I’m not a good sitter-on-the-couch-er.  I’m just not good at not doing.  So while my body is reveling in this newly-learned skill, my brain has been quietly going mad with the frustration of not being productive.  However, I am acutely aware that my insistence on scoffing at rest and relaxation aided and abetted my health downfall, so I’ve forced myself to just stop with all the activity.

The real dilemma here is how I do all the things that I want to do while also embracing rest and relaxation.  I have a day job that heralds on average a 53-hour work week (sans commute).  This blog, recipe development, and my cookbooks are another more-than-fulltime pursuit, and while I managed to do both for several years, it’s not healthily sustainable.  Sustainable – yes.  Healthily sustainable – clearly not.  Since I have never earned one bean from any of the things I did with The Bailornator, and the revenue from my cookbooks only partly covers the production costs of this blog, recipes, and cookbooks themselves,  quitting the day job to spend my time here is not an option (at this point, anyway).  So given that what pays my bills is my day job, I have had to take the R ‘n’ R part out of all this goodness.  Sad but true.

Secondly, and in all honesty, I  became rather burned out with it all.  The eye-rolling, never-ending arguments about which diet is The One, snake oil sales people bombarding every possible means of social media and communication with their silver bullet infomercials, snazzy videos, sneaky (and often not so sneaky) sales emails, and so many various detox / weight-loss / healthy gut / fat-loss summits that in reality tell you nothing new but always require a bunch of $$ at the end, and the unbelievable amount of misinformation bandied about by ‘experts’ and manufacturers, {many} doctors and ‘gurus’, {many} dieticians and anyone else who is just trying to make a buck off folks desperate to feel great and finally be able to lose a few pounds.

I swear I am going to smack my screen if I see one more recipe with ‘healthy’ in the title followed by a list of nutritional insanity that will make you fatter faster than a rabbit at the races.  And then just when you think you’ve got it all straight about what is right and what is wrong you come across something else or someone else (with credentials up the ying-yang and sometimes a body like Ted Naiman) saying the opposite.  Wait. What??  If you follow all the health shenanigans seriously, it’s exhausting.  How in the world anyone is supposed to successfully navigate all this stuff without losing their mind and / or their will to live is beyond me.

Not to mention the social requirements of it all became so tedious and overwhelming if you wanted to do it right. You mustn’t post on your blog unless you’ve written it in such a way as to maximize every search engine to get the highest ranking possible – which means you need to manipulate the title, the subtitle, the paragraphs, the links, the number of times you mention the title, tags, categories, images, blah, blah, di blah, blah, blah!  It is all so contrived.  Lordy it takes longer to do all that than it does to write the darn content.  Exhausting.  I didn’t even want to log into my dashboard anymore.

The ridiculousness of having to comment on other bloggers posts in order to get them to comment on yours.  Following someone on social media just to get another like for yourself in return.  Buying followers to bump up your figures.  And over the years I’ve watched all this going on and thought, “Where’s the honesty? Why isn’t great content enough for someone to get heard and applauded?” And I just didn’t want to be a part of it, because I have never cared about the numbers.  I am not trying to make a fortune, become famous, get a book deal, have the most followers on any social media platform, or win awards.  I would much rather have low numbers than fake numbers.  My ego doesn’t need to see large numbers in order to know I am of worth.  I am not in competition with anyone and I don’t care what anyone thinks of me.  You certainly don’t tell the world you have Bi-Polar II Disorder if you care what people think.  Nope.  I am just here sharing my life in the hopes that it will help or inspire someone else that in turn leads them to a better life.

I got to the point where I was just wanted to throw my hands up in the air and run away.  So I did.  To Death Valley, where I regained some sense of peace and sanity.  It was entirely my intention to return home from my time down south and throw myself back into blogosphere to add what value I could to others lives, but I quickly discovered after I kicked off my well-traveled Converses and plonked myself down at my desk to type that I had not come back any more excited to rejoin the fray of bickering and one-upping and deliberate misinformation and downright ugliness that is increasingly casting it’s cloud over the wellness landscape.

And thirdly – in large part because of #2 above – I once again find myself questioning the value I provide to you with what I create in this space.  While it is very true that I don’t do this for $$$, it has to have a worthy purpose beyond my own love of doing it for it to be a worthwhile endeavor.  I am just not wired to do stuff purely for my own enjoyment. OK, taking myself off to my Happy Place for breakfast once in a while – yes, but spending 3 days a week creating stuff and not share with others what they might find useful, uplifting, or inspiring – no.  So I became torn about my place in the world (again).

When this all started 4 years ago there was pretty much nowhere else you could get truly healthy recipes from (and certainly nothing that aligned with the SANE approach) and my whole reason for existing was to provide those for you.  Then, over the last 2 years while I’ve been working on fixing my pesky health issues a plethora of blogs showed up where you can get recipes to follow any diet out there, so you no longer need me for that; and yet every time I resolve to walk away from here and reinvent myself to find another cause where I can use my skills to cheerlead and help I find you {virtually} standing in my path letting me know that you miss me.  I for the life of me do not know or understand what it is that you miss, but I cannot help but accept that you do.  I think about all the emails and comments I receive letting me know that your life is better because I am in it – even if it is just in the form of words and images on a screen.  Or I’ll read something online and think, “This is bullshit.  I need to do what I can to help people figure out the truth from the peddler’s nonsense”. And goodness knows there’s an avalanche of people peddling nonsense out there.  I’ve experienced so much, I’ve learned so much, and I have so much worth sharing.

But I don’t want to add to the confusion.  And I don’t want to be lumped in with all the other snake oils salesmen.  And I don’t want to follow some contrived formula for getting the most likes or followers.  My voice is so quiet in amongst the cacophony of people trying to make a quick buck from the whole wellness circus.  My reach is so small given my budget for marketing and other assorted manipulations is zero.  Is it even worth trying to be heard?

So then another few weeks went by without feeling any clarity about what I needed to do and before I knew it another road trip rolled along.  So off I jollied to Colorado where I left my brake pads, rotors and the best part of the treads on my tires (and as a result $1209.11).  But what I came back with was a sense that I just needed to be me in this space.  Share when I can rather than on a if-you-don’t-post-3-times-a-week-you’re-a-failure schedule, write about anything that I felt had the potential to make others lives better, feel free change the format to make it easier to write more often, and stop feeling bound by having to continue what I’d done before.  I’m going with the flow.  And giving you another daffodil. Because daffodils make me happy.

www.carriebrown.com

You can take what you love, what is helpful, what inspires you, and move along when it’s not something that resonates.  You can follow or not follow, subscribe or unsubscribe, like or not like.  You can love the recipes and hate the road trips, or vice versa.  If you stop getting anything meaningful here I encourage you to seek wisdom elsewhere.    It is impossible for me to please everyone.  I simply cannot spend any more energy thinking about whether I am doing it right when I could be using that time to create something of value.  So I am just going to create and see what happens.

So what’s new?  What’s different?  And what’s coming?

This is still a work in progress, but I was determined to get this post out tonight COME WHAT MAY so here is what I have so far:

Thanks to my newly acquired jumping-of-the-ship to an iPhone I have recently fully embraced Instagram and Flickr.  You can take a peek and then hang out with any or all of the pages that appeal to you:

@carrieontrippin : day-to-day moments captured with my iPhone (6S+)

@biggirlcamera : road trips, landscapes, flowers, fences, barns, trees, and whatever else grabs my attention captured with my Big Girl Camera (Nikon D750)

@lifeinthesanelane : food, recipes, and sane living captured with both iPhone and Big Girl Camera

@mistermchenry : yes, I really did. Because if you can’t have fun, what’s the point?!  The world according to Mr. McHenry.

 

Flickr: CarrieBrownBlog : road trips, landscapes, flowers, fences, barns, trees, and whatever else grabs my attention captured with my Big Girl Camera (Nikon D750)

I’ve started writing over on Medium. There’s so much stuff I think about and want to write about that doesn’t feel like it quite fits here in this space.  There’s only a couple of pieces up there so far, but there’ll be a lot more coming.  You’ll find all the random musings there.  They night be rantier, more sensitive, and more controversial.  Who knows at this point.

https://medium.com/@CarrieBrownBlog

www.carriebrown.com

Recipes

There will be recipes, but the focus is going to be on very much simpler recipes and meal ideas that require minimal time to make.  Recipes that work in the real everyday working world where no one has time to spend an hour every night making almond flour pizza dough and baking grain-free, sugar-free cakes and cookies, but no one wants to down 3 whey protein shakes a day in the interests of maximum nutrition in the least time.

Newsletters

There is some fantastic information out there that I want you to have but don’t have time to write blog posts on, so I am going to be using a more newsletter-style format regularly to give you the links you need to get the info directly.  I’ll also be introducing you to amazing people who have great stuff to share.

 

That’s all I got right now.  I’ve missed you too.

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What does 'sane' mean? Click here...Want delicious uber-healthy recipes? Check out my Cookbooks!
  • Francesca - Thank goodness you are back! I have unsubscribed from so many emails and blogs of late because – like you – I’ve got fed up with marketing and material that looks like information but is designed to hook me in. Plus there is SO MUCH mis-information and ‘expert’ views that are polar opposites. I have retained 2 blog sites, 1 is “Inside Out Style” by an Australian stylist and the other is yours. I have 3 of your recipe books, and that is plenty for me to use. It is all the other stuff and the honesty you show, you really have the ability to connect.
    It is an odd thing about this web-connected world we live in; I feel I almost know you and if I saw you somewhere I would recognise you, but you wouldn’t know me at all. It is weird really. Isn’t it odd to matter to people you’ve never met? Anyhow, glad you are back and I’m going to check out your other blog, but not instagram, flickr, snapchat or any of the other sites – it becomes overload. :)
    FrancescaReplyCancel

  • Suzanne - Love, love, love (as usual)! Some of this same stuff drives me absolutely batty too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and since I don’t do Instagram or Flickr, I will look for you on Medium (and FB, of course). Thanks for always keeping it real-you’re the best!ReplyCancel

  • David Williams - Carrie – we miss you because we’ve been following you and your journey. We miss you because you’re hilarious. We miss you because in the world of snake-oil salesman YOU are the genuine article. We miss you because you make our journey through life easier and better. We miss you because we really like you!ReplyCancel

    • Amanda - This! I love this blog because it’s a breath of fresh air. And despite what you said about there being so many blogs now for any kind of diet, I find it difficult to find both low carb /paleoish AND sugar free including no honey (aka sane) without spending hundreds of dollars on Bailor’s services themselves, which I don’t have the budget for.

      Plus hearing about your journey has been amazingly inspiring. Please don’t drive yourself crazy with the rewording and search engine maximization garbage. Word of mouth can and should do all that for you, especially if you don’t care about the money. (Though I do understand how it would be nice to make a living off this alone)

      Just wanted to add to the “yay you are back! Please don’t leave again…” Group.ReplyCancel

      • carrie - Amanda – it’s interesting you say that because all low carb recipes *should* be sugar-free!! (There are no recipes on JB’s site that you cannot find elsewhere on the internet for free.)ReplyCancel

  • gordon Mott - Hi Carrie. Well it must be at least 2 years since we last connected. Somehow I left the SANE world and have stayed fat since then losing a few pounds. I recently went on a fitness regime as I do an annual hike in my beloved Lake district, and I did so much better on the hills this year due to regular HIIT (High intensity interval training) on my x trainer and some hill training. However…..I still have a large amount of body fat around my middle (the dangerous fat), and it’s time I lost it and became a new man again at 56.
    So…I decided to return to the one thing that ever made most sense to me……SANE eating…..and I was somewhat shocked to see that JB has ramped up the marketing, following a 3 hour webinar, a massive sales heat that was endlessly repetitive, and extolling how much savings I will make, and wanting me to depart with a lot of money which I do not have. I can honestly say, I was really disappointed that JB as genuine and nice man that he is, has succumbed to that often seen American hype and
    endless salesmanship, which us Brits just hate.
    Next I ventured back to your website, and I wondered why you left the JB show as you have not been on it for some time, and also the absence of posts on this site. I have been much relieved to hear your latest post (thank you as always for being so real, you have so much to contribute). I’m sorry to hear that you have been battling health issues, but it sounds as if you are getting there.
    So here I am, back to SANE, seeing the vast array of e books by JB on SANE recipes, your wonderful web site full of free recipes, and trying to find a way for me and my wife that simplfies things and which is sustainable.
    I like to snack so at the weekend I made Baba Ganoush and a tuna dip, without the crackers and biscuits but with crudites. Very nice….but miss Nairns oatmeal crackers. The weight is reducing, but need to get your recipe books I think.
    BTW, thank you so much again for sending me a free gift of your ice cream book a few years ago (I won a competition!), but I still need to get the ice cream maker this Summer and make them.
    Thanks again Carrie, and if you need to reply to this privately by email due to the issues raised, please do.
    Lots of love…………..Gordon XReplyCancel

  • Debra sanders - Welcome back. I literally checked into this spot yesterday to see if maybe I had been missing your blog posts. I was worried about you. You have so much to offer us with your honesty. I too have been busily unsubscribing from the massive amounts of “health sites” bombarding my Facebook and email. It is so apparent they are in it for the money. I’m so sick of the scare tactics. I’m just so glad to hear that you are working on getting healthy. I want to share your journey.ReplyCancel

  • Sue - Wow! It’s weird and amazing how many points you made that mirror my feelings. I appreciate the opportunity to share your Journey when you feel inspired to do so. I look forward to the adventure.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - Carrie, thanks for coming back. I look forward to your posts, and have appreciated the time you take to keep us up on your journey. Though it is different from mine, some of the issues are the same, and that means I get to see my own issues from a different point of view, always helpful.
    I was not aware of what it takes to be a top Blogger! Or even tat there was competition to be such. What a drag! I hope that you can go forward as a labor of love, that is, something you love to and that we love to read. Because we Do! And thank You!
    Just sayin’, I have made up your ice cream recipes about a zillion times. I don’t exactly live on them, but they sure add that satisfying something after dinner that all the green smoothies in the world can’t do!
    More thank yous!ReplyCancel

  • Barb - Thank you! I’ve missed you! So happy you are well! Carry on!ReplyCancel

  • Amy V. - I too am glad you are back. I love that you are “real”. You rant, you have health issues you are dealing with, you praise when due (and berate when needed also), you are not constantly spouting the “latest & greatest, must-have-or-you-will-die” health miracle and yes…you are not here every day. And I REALLY appreciate that. It gets to a point where one feels like a failure because you do not, or cannot, buy all the latest “this will make yourself well” especially when reading the mostly crap that comes at us constantly So you are a breath of fresh air when you tell it like it is. And sharing your struggles helps me realize that I am not alone. And sometimes when we struggle with health issues, weight issues, etc…well sometimes we just need that. So thank you for coming back. :)ReplyCancel

  • Lori - Glad to see that you’re back Carrie! I always look forward to everything you have to share.ReplyCancel

  • Sue - A smile came across my face when I got the alert that there was a new post on your site. We love you just because you’re you! You said it best: “I am just here sharing my life in the hopes that it will help or inspire someone else that in turn leads them to a better life.” It does help. You do inspire. You passion for nature, kitties, to say nothing of your delicious recipes, keeps us all interested, happy, and loving you. Only post when you feel inclined. We’ll be here. (P.S. Way back when, early on in your blog, when I discovered your passion for your kitties….I was hooked. We share the passion.) >^..^<

    SueReplyCancel

  • Ellen - Thank GOD you’re back! I’ve aimlessly branched out to a variety of podcasts in your absence which have left me confused – am I stagnating due to the absence of powdered greens in my diet?
    Your return is like a breath of fresh air! You inspire me to get back to basics and simplicity and to enjoy great music on my commutes instead of tuning in to the SANE show and enduring that insanely peppy, giggling woman and praying that THIS will be the episode where you return!
    Glad you’re back in whatever venue / format / media outlet you feel inspired to use. You know we will follow. You know you’re loved! <3ReplyCancel

  • Patricia - Hi Carrie,
    I was only thinking of you in the shower this morning, how odd where your mind takes you when relaxing under hot water! I was thinking where are you and I hope you are ok.
    Like you I am sick to death of all the differing info on what to eat and the constant sales pitch from all the “experts”.
    Who really has time to make all this beautiful food all the time. I look forward to seeing quick and easy meals for busy times. Mind you your chocolate/coffee biscuits are the best and worth the effort.
    I love following JB but the cost when converted into Aussie dollars is prohibitive. I hate all the pre-packaged goods and health bars.
    You really do inspire me Carrie, your honesty, your humour, your beautiful photography. If you are ever in Tasmania I would just love to cook you a (SANE) meal. Take care of yourself and so pleased you are back.ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa - Carrie, it is so good to hear from you again. I am glad that you are making progress in so many ways. :)

    I want you to know that you are a big part of why I am continuing down the SANE path, despite my results not being as quick or dramatic as I would like them to be. It helps to hear from someone struggling with some of the same things I am. And your incredible sense of humor and positivity (is that even a word?) make all the difference. I hope some day you’ll be able to do more podcasts with Jonathan…the two of you are such fun together.

    I’m very excited about the new recipes you’re planning. In my ideal world, supper would take less than 30 minutes of hands-on prep and be done in an hour or less. Simple is great.ReplyCancel

  • Wendi - Carrie, I am glad you are back. I have missed you. I, too, am tired and overwhelmed with all the “healthy” diets out there. Thank you for your honesty and all that you do. I look forward to trying your new recipes. Take care of yourself.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay - Great to see you back and I love the sound of “the middle way” re. recipes – not elaborate, but not stark either.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Girl, you KNOW I could have written half of this myself! I am *this close* to closing up shop and quitting nutrition altogether! I feel like a too-quiet voice in a sea of shysters, liars, and people out to make as much $$ as they can, as quickly as they can. I don’t want to be painted with the same brush. I grow increasingly disgusted and disillusioned by it all. Not to mention the conversation I had the other day with someone “in the know,” who confirmed what I already suspected to be true: the number of “gurus” in Paleo and keto land who have eating disorders and are completely misleading their fans is higher than any of us would imagine. They’d like to make us *believe* that their uber-trim physiques, thigh gaps, and jutting hipbones are the easy-peasy and natural result of doing nothing but following a very basic Paleo/LCHF/ketogenic diet, when in reality, they spend 20 hours a day obsessing over calories, and the other 4 hours in the gym, indulging their pathological exercise addiction.

    Not for me.
    Pass the ice cream for crissake.ReplyCancel

    • carrie - And that is exactly why you need to stay, Awesome Amy. Because the world needs us to be the voice of reason in this madness otherwise everyone will continue to be forever lost in a sea of snake oil and sales pitches design to relieve them of their money but not their sickness or their chunky bits. We need to start a movement! We need to show the world that it is very possible to be a normal person living a normal life and still attain vibrant health and a healthy weight.

      PS. If you’re going to eat ice cream for the love of god (or whoever) buy my damn ice cream book and stay LCHF doing it! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Wren Tidwell - As the others have said, I’ve missed you to. What a bright spot you bring to my facebook notifications or email inbox when there is an update from you. I actually like the randomness and irregularity of your posts. It seems more natural. Other bloggers that post every day or at least very regularly, well… sometimes you get the feeling that they are just filling space – doing their duty – when they really don’t have anything new to say. Either that, or they are always trying to sell you something. THAT’S when I delete their email or unsubscribe. I understand that people need to make a living but I can’t take a sales pitch every day. That’s gets overwhelming.

    So do whatever the heck you want Carrie and post whenever and about whatever you want. That’s why we love you. Be yourself. Be random. Give what you can give to us faithful readers and keep the rest to yourself and your RnR.

    And remember when it comes to any of your new recipes, you have this dear Texan friend who is more than willing to give them a test or two in my amateur kitchen before they are posted (wink wink).ReplyCancel

  • Tina - It’s so great to see you’re back, Carrie! I’ve also missed you and love reading what you have to talk about.
    Thank you for your honesty and openness. You make the rest of us a little more brave.
    Carry on!ReplyCancel