Good morning! I hope you all had a restful Labor Day weekend.
This is my second weekly newsletter. You may have missed the first when you initially signed up as it would not have gone directly to your inbox. You can find it and other posts on my substack home page. Moving forward, you should get your weekly email on Tuesday afternoon. Only subscribers can see these posts, but I have made a few articles on the homesite public for those who are looking for links to my columns.
Be sure to let me know if you have questions or subjects you’d like to see covered in future newsletters. I plan to always touch on the following subjects: news & politics, entertainment, health & nutrition, recipes, travel, beauty, and life hacks (things nobody tells you). I’ll go in that order, so if you ever want to skip around that will be your table of contents.
Here we go!
News & Politics
This is rare, but I don’t have any new articles out this week. I took a vacation two weeks ago and am still catching up. I have three articles with editors, and one due to Newsmax. So you’ll probably get an abundance in this category next week.
For the record, you can always find my Newsmax columns here, my Washington Examiner (WEX) columns here, and I regularly post interview clips to my Vimeo. I’ve also made a Youtube channel that I promise to start using more.
Montel Williams Interview
Omg you guys. This was a big deal to me. When I was homeschooled, I used to sneak and watch a daily line-up of adult programming in my room: Montel Williams, Sally Jessy Raphael, Passions, and Oprah were all regulars. Last week, I recorded an episode of Montel’s new show, Free Thinking, where we discussed being politically homeless, the political climate in the country, criminal justice reform, and most importantly the death penalty. Available as a video on youtube, or as a podcast here.
It’s Already Illegal to Pay Women Less
One of my biggest pet peeves is people arguing for more laws to further criminalize something that is already illegal. It’s been illegal to pay a woman less than a man (for the same job, with the same education and experience) since the 1960’s. Does it happen? Maybe from time to time, but not often (and if so, there’s recourses available). Studies show that when all factors are equal women earn the same as men. So where does this myth come from? It comes from comparing averages. Women are more likely to enter lower paying fields, like teaching or social work, tend to prioritize flexible schedules, and are more likely to take time away from the workforce.
You should know….
Memes & Viral Posts
I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve actually consumed less entertainment during COVID than before. I used to download lots of content for frequent plane rides, commutes, and downtime at capitols. I’ve actually been around friends and loved ones a lot more than usual during the pandemic and just don’t spend as much time as usual with my computer/TV/phone. Are you similar? Or are you tearing through content with all the downtime? Let me know if there’s cool stuff I should have on my radar.
The Boys (Amazon Prime)
This is about the last thing I ever thought I’d be obsessed with. I’m so not into action movies, super heroes, or sci-fi. But, this is just that good. It’s largely satirical, premised around a seedy cast of super heroes with bad behavior behind the scenes that are a metaphor for our politicians and military industrial complex. I binged season one a few months ago, and season 2 just started last week. This is an Amazon Prime original and only available there.
I let my love of my little brother talk me into this one. We went back to the theater for the first time last night to see Christopher Nolan’s new movie, Tenet. Y’all. I genuinely cannot tell you what this movie was about. I don’t know if I’m stupid, had a little too much sake at dinner beforehand, or if this was the most confusing movie to ever be released, but I was lost the entire time. It also had really loud/weird sound effects, needed closed captioning for the dialogue, and was pretty long (over two hours). I don’t recommend. But I did love that they featured a diverse cast.
The Dixie Chicks, Gaslighter
I’m going to try to keep this at a normal fan-girl level but OMG THEY’RE BACK! Listen. While y’all were acting like snowflakes and burning their albums, 12 year old me had the Dixie Chicks’ back. Not only are they one of the greatest, most original, female bands of all time, they’re also spot-on, dead ass right about foreign policy. That being said, even I had to admit their music went downhill post Bush-gate and I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this album as a result. WRONG. Whatever cancellation bitterness consumed them for the past decade has dissipated and been replaced with Natalie Maines sheer rage, heartbreak, and triumph over her dirty, loser ex-husband and his affairs. Every single song on this album takes me back to peak 2000’s Chicks girl-power, and with so few female country options around these days, I realized it was a void needing to be filled. I use spotify where you can stream the album here. But you can find it on just about any music platform.
Nice White Parents
Podcasts are one of my favorite entertainment items. I listen to them while I get ready in the mornings, while I cook, while I drive, and to fall asleep. This new series from the New York Times takes a look at one Brooklyn, NY public school and its issues around desegregating. I listened to this not knowing what to expect, and what I found was an accidental case for school choice. It’s an enjoyable and informative listen.
Health & Nutrition
So, I want to give you the low-down on my diet and be brutally honest on a few factors. But before I do, let’s establish something. Your weight is not your health. Yes, there are healthy guidelines that I will leave between you and your doctor. But people carry weight differently, can be healthy at higher weights, and can look radically different without their weight changing drastically. At 130 pounds I wear a size 0, look razor thin, and am barely eating. But I’m 5’7, carry weight in my hips, and have a naturally athletic build. At 150, I’m still thin, way more muscular, and am working out regularly and eating healthy. All of that to say, please don’t fixate on my goals and make them your own. Everyone is different. With that out of the way, I’ve learned a lot about nutrition I intend to share here and I hope you can use it for your goals..
Last March, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. I hadn’t worked out in a year, was eating and drinking in excess, and all around was not taking care of myself. I felt like crap, popped acid-reflux meds around the clock, and my mental health was suffering. I needed to make some big changes. My goal was to drop down to 150 pounds, which was about a 20 pound loss.
I decided to do the keto diet (I’ve never officially dieted before). I already have a gluten-allergy so I don’t get bread, and keto seemed like it would be pretty easy to follow. I largely still think this is true, but it is a little more complicated than I first thought. A low carb diet would be consuming between 30-50 grams of carbs a day. Start tracking your carbs and you’ll likely find you eat triple that, if not more. Carbs are basically sugar, and our food industry is overrun with this addicting, disturbing substance. (I suggest watching the documentary Fed-Up for more information on this subject but for the record, I think it is of greater concern than heroin). Until I started keto, I honestly had no idea how much sugar I was consuming. I would eat snacks like a chick pea salad and be baffled at my weight gain. Keto made me learn what I was actually putting in my body, and that control is something I now very much prize.
In keto, you want to eat less than 20 grams of carbs a day. You also want to eat a high fat diet and a moderate intake of protein (this last part is the hardest as you can easily fall back on meat and cheese for recipe substitutes and snacks, which are both high in protein). In order to get your actual goal numbers, you’ll need to count your macros. You can use a calculator like this one to figure that out. You also want to keep an eye on your calories just to make sure you’re staying around 1500-2000 (I never came anywhere close to that).
For me, my daily intake numbers looked like this:
Carbs 20 grams or fewer a day
Calories Stay under 1500
Fat 125 grams a day
Protein 91 grams a day
Here’s the plus to keto: it works! I lost weight quickly and never felt hungry. I really never even felt deprived because almost anything I got a craving for I could find a substitute recipe to make. My father, who has type 2 diabetes, also saw his levels approach those of a healthy person within only one month! I learned so much about what is in food and have far greater control of my health nowadays.
But here are the negatives: it takes a lot of planning and cooking. In order to make sure your numbers are right you have to do a lot of math and know exactly what is going in your food. You also need to talk to a doctor about it – not everyone can handle a high fat diet. And there are side-effects. Some people get a flu-like sickness, some people see their hair thin. (I experienced the latter). Because your system is switching its functionality (from using carbs for energy to fats) your body can incur the same type of stress you would experience post-surgery. The side effects are temporary, but were too much for me. If I had an ongoing issue (like diabetes) I might have kept doing it, but once I hit my goal weight I decided to move forward.
I now have a low-carb, moderate protein diet. I rely heavily on keto recipes, but am not as restrictive with my numbers. I only moderately drink alcohol, and mostly stick to wine. Most days I eat two meals – lunch and dinner – and I try to only eat between the hours of 12-8 pm. I love to include some vegetarian days in my week (I use substitutes like jackfruit and tempeh) and drink a ton of water (drink your weight in ounces a day). And, I’m still losing weight! Just more slowly. My skin looks brighter, I have a lot more energy, my mental health is better, and I like how I look again.
Keto chocolate cream-cheese brownies
This recipe sounded hard as first, but actually wasn’t. I would double the portion sizes for a full pan, especially the chocolate part of the batter. I’m using a stock photo and not my own because I forgot to take pics before digging in.
These tasted great, but the recipe needed work. The initial mix was not at all sticky enough to get into the pan. I added two eggs and some almond flour, and still had to very carefully flip the patties. If I were to repeat I think I would just fry the mix all together instead of in patty form. But the final product was definitely worth the work.
No travel this week. Feeling super restless. 🙁
This is what the pageant girls use to clean themselves out and stay thin. You’re welcome, stay near a toilet.
Things Nobody Tells You (Life Hacks)
You Cam Perfect (app)
It’s free and it’s magic. You’ll never have a bad picture again. Just don’t go overboard, one time I gave myself a stellar nose-job and now I want a real one.
See ya next week!