Health

I’m No Angel, But Is Plus Equal?

I’m sure by now you’ve all seen the Lane Bryant ad circulating on social media.

#ImNoAngel

#PlusIsEqual

And while the message of plus acceptance is something I have rallied behind for the past decade, this morning I had a hard time associating myself as one of these women.

I watch the glamazons in the Plus Is Equal campaign and admire both their bravery and beauty as they strut their stuff in national ad campaign for the largest plus-size retailer, Lane Bryant. They are each gorgeous, flawless and idols to women of a larger size like myself.

So this morning when my boyfriend complimented my body, I had a knee-jerk reaction of shrugging him off. It’s especially fitting since today I’m dressed from head to toe in Lane Bryant fashion items. From my bra and boyshorts by Cacique to my Lane Bryant-branded pencil skirt, tank and half-sleeve jacket, I’m a walking billboard. Today, I’m feeling casually elegant, super confident and a bit naughty.

So why shrug him off?

Good question.

Why is it so hard for me to take a compliment?

I’m sure all women have this issue. We become obsessed by parts of our body that we don’t feel are adequate enough, and we project all our negativity toward ourselves. For me, size has always been my concern. I target hate toward my arms and my stomach. So I was instantaneously forced to look and ask myself why I couldn’t see my own body in the same light that I saw the “Plus Is Equal” campaign woman.

For all we want to post on social media about self-acceptance, it’s easy to fall back into centuries old body shaming practices. We’ve been raised to sit up straight, project our chest, whittle down our waists, plump our lips, shave our unwanted hair, grown our head hair long and luxurious, wear heels to elongate our legs…and blah, blah, blah. There are so many expectations on our appearance that it’s easy to fall into self-sabotage comparing ourselves to these widely accepted, often contradicting, standards.

No matter how many memes we post, no matter how many compliments we get, no matter what our level of self-confidence seems to be…the one thing we can count on is that ALL women harbor the same kinds of doubts about themselves. It’s an unspoken rule.

So what are the rules to accepting ourselves with so many lingering self-doubts?

According to NEMA (National Eating Disorders Association), there are 10 tips for body acceptance.

  1. Appreciate all that your body can do.  Every day your body carries you closer to your dreams.  Celebrate all of the amazing things your body does for you—running, dancing, breathing, laughing, dreaming, etc.
  2. Keep a top-ten list of things you like about yourself—things that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like.  Read your list often.  Add to it as you become aware of more things to like about yourself.
  3. Remind yourself that “true beauty” is not simply skin deep.  When you feel good about yourself and who you are, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence, self-acceptance, and openness that makes you beautiful regardless of whether you physically look like a supermodel.  Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of your body.
  4. Look at yourself as a whole person.  When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific body parts.  See yourself as you want others to see you–as a whole person.
  5. Surround yourself with positive people.  It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around others who are supportive and who recognize the importance of liking yourself just as you naturally are.
  6. Shut down those voices in your head that tell you your body is not “right” or that you are a “bad” person.  You can overpower those negative thoughts with positive ones.  The next time you start to tear yourself down, build yourself back up with a few quick affirmations that work for you.
  7. Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body.  Work with your body, not against it.
  8. Become a critical viewer of social and media messages.  Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body.  Protest these messages:  write a letter to the advertiser or talk back to the image or message
  9. Do something nice for yourself–something that lets your body know you appreciate it.  Take a bubble bath, make time for a nap, find a peaceful place outside to relax.
  10. Use the time and energy that you might have spent worrying about food, calories, and your weight to do something to help others.  Sometimes reaching out to other people can help you feel better about yourself and can make a positive change in our world.

And while these all seem well and good, they are each a monsoon of emotional baggage for most women. Today I battled with #4 but any given day…

Which of these do you battle with most on a daily basis?

Fuck, Twitter! (grabs heart)

I have to say that the University of Pennsylvania does the coolest studies.  (This coming from someone who spends their day doing research in the marketing world.) And their most recent study illustrates this point.

If you are someone who uses the Twitterverse to voice your frustration, anger and anxiety, you may want to call your cardiologist stat!

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U of P’s latest study published in the journal, Psychological Science, found a correlation between angry Tweeting and coronary heart disease.  That’s right.  They say your Twitter feed is a better indicator than smoking, diabetes, income, education and obesity COMBINED!

This isn’t the first time that academia has used big data for health predictions. A previous study coming out of Johns Hopkins University and George Washington University suggested that Twitter was a better predictor of the spread of the flu than the CDC or Google’s flu tracker.

With Twitter proving to be such a powerful prediction tool, what do you think will be next?  Weigh in below.

Education of the dreaded “G” word

by Teddy Sephina

Education: when you grow up having no choice but to have an absolutely, terrifying aversion to the public restrooms because your grandmother taught you that you simply must hold in your insane desire to pee, until you have fully decorated the public toilet with half a roll of toilet paper–not to mention the toilet handle, the toilet tank, and even the bolts on the floor.

That’s education for you.

Trap_the_Germs_Art.IWMPST14134

Education: when you have finally elevated yourself to just mere balking at using the public restroom, and life is slightly less stressful, you meet someone who strikes up an easy friendship with you. Little do you know, slowly will your sanity be also taken away. My roommate has a serious, and I mean, serious aversion to the common Germ. Yes, that horrible, fretful, nasty four-letter word that starts with (shudder) a “G.” But sadly, and this has caused me great changes in my former simple life, I now am deathly afraid of the public restroom. Not only there, but even in my own home.

You see, here’s the ritual: You have a strong desire to pee, only not with Grandma there to decorate the toilet; you have to do it yourself. So now, you’re standing there, with your legs crossed at the knees, with a bottle of Purell or Germ-X in your one hand, a saturated wipe in your other, leaning precariously over the dreaded toilet whose life has been touched by millions of heinies, and you, with eyes closed as much as you can, begin to wipe down this porcelain throne. When you finally decide you can pee, you still think of Grandma, smiling down on you, and you still decorate the toilet with half a roll of toilet paper.

Now, you can commence peeing. But!

That’s not all.

When you finish with everything, and get ready to leave the stall, you have to take a piece of toilet paper, not used, to open the stall, and then you manage to weakly make your way over to the second dreaded station: the sink.

First, since you feel dirty anyway, you yank the lever on the paper towel holder, and leave the paper hanging. You will, of course, use the first sink next to it, so no one can take your paper towel. Then, you proceed to wash your hands. Now, your hands are clean, so you’re not going to touch the faucet, no no. You take that paper towel, dry your hands, and then, using that same paper towel, you turn off the faucet you just used. Dispose of that paper towel with every germ known to man on it, and you take that long, head-hung-low walk to the door. You pray, with each step you take, that someone else will venture into that slimy place we call the public bathroom. And if you don’t have time to stand and wait for the unknowing, naïve next bathroom guest, you hark back to the days of being lithe, athletic, and into yoga, and you rear your leg up and open the door with your foot. And then, in a way that would inspire awe in the most trained contortionist, you wrap around the open door and slip back out to where your waiting party is.

This, my friends, is the education I have gained from my friend.

Luxury Just Pours Out in This Blog

by Kristie LeVangie

Water is water, right?  We buy it by the bottles due to convenience as we trek off to the gym, running errands, or to the office.

There are tons of brands to choose from in your local supermarket and a case could run you between $4 and $10 in most cases.

Sure, we’ll have concern about landfills and how our bad consumerism will ruin the environment, but it’s not stopping us.  As of 2012, Americans were consuming nearly 9.1 BILLION gallons of bottled water and spending a whopping $21.7 BILLION.

Just imagine how that number would be affected by the following list.

Luxury isn’t just for cars, handbags or exquisite dinners.  Luxury has also hit the bottled water market.

And assuming you have a few hundred, or even a few thousands, to kick around on some pure liquid libation, a little googling could have you drinking in style.

Here’s a list of 8 of the most expensive luxury bottled waters in the world.

8. AquaDeco – $12 per 750 ml

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We start the list at a mere $12 a bottle.

Aquadeco, awarded the 2007 Gold Medal as the best non-carbonated water and another for its bottle design, is sourced from unspoiled and untouched springs in Canada.  The aquifer from which this brand comes was created on an “undifferentiated glacial till with a predominantly sandy silt matrix during the last ice age, some 18,000 years ago.”  With it’s retreat, it left layers of sand that, acting as a filtration device, were able to remove pollutants and ions at the atomic level for some of the most pristine drinking water on the market.

7. 10 Thousand BC – $14 per 750 ml

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Inching up in price, our next entry registers in at $14 a bottle.

10 Thousand BC is sourced from a location off the Canadian coast so remote, it would take 3 days just to get to there.  First, you would begin up the Coastal Glacier Mountain Range, through the Desolation Sound, and finally to Toba Inlet, just 200 miles north of Vancouver.  Only accessible by the ocean, it is unspoiled by man.  From the former glacial location, it is transported by stainless steel water trucks to the bottling plant in Kelowna, British Columbia.

 

6. VEEN – $23 per 750 ml

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Coming in at #6, we go to Finland.

Finnish brand, VEEN, offers may variations and is sourced from many unique natural springs, including Finnish Lapland and Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan.  The name is derived from “Veen Emonen” (or Mother of Water).

The “wave bottle”, designed by Antti Eklund, has been nominated for a number of awards and won the 2007 Best Bottle in Glass Award at Global Bottled Water World.  The first VEEN bottle can actually been seen in its Helsinki Design Museum home where it rests today.  Eklund used the first wave that Veen Emonen raised as his inspiration.

5. Bling! H2O – $40 per 750 ml

bling-water

Still not sure I’m assaulting your checkbook too much, #5 is starting to make a dent.

Bottled at it’s English Mountain Spring source located at the base of the Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee, this water is the brainchild of Hollywood writer-producer, Kevin G. Boyd.  Bling H2O can be found in the hands of sociality Paris Hilton and throughout the Hollywood scene.  It was featured at the MTV Video Music Awards and at the The Emmys.  Winning the gold medal for Best Tasting water at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Competition, Bling H2O is certainly attaining its mission to “offer a product with an exquisite face to match exquisite taste.

And considering each bottle stands as a work of art, jewelry-like in nature, it’s surprising it doesn’t cost a bit more.  From the Goldilocks version:

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to the 10,000 Swarovski Crystal version that will set you back $2,600:

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It’s almost too beautiful to drink.

4. Fillico – $219 per 750 ml

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Next we fly to Japan for our #4 listing.

Fitting of royalty, all Fillico bottled waters are topped with regal crowns.  Each bottle is produced by hand, so production is limited to just 5,000 bottles per month.  Sourced from the highly regarded Nunobiki spring located in the Rokkou National Park in Kobe, this water is so pure it also used by a Sake producer in its hometown.

And just like Bling! H2O, their bottles are essentially jewelry-like in nature.  In fact, they advertise as such on their website.  Crystals not your style?  Try out their rock-and-roll version:

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Perhaps something a little more cutesy and Asian-inspired?  Why not their Hello Kitty branded bottle?

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3. Kona Nigari Water – $402 per 750 ml

Kona Nigari Water

For #3, we stay in the Japanese market.  This time exploring Kona Nigari water.

Gathered 2,000 feet deep below the ocean’s surface just off the island of Hawaii, this water is quite literally marketed as the Fountain of Youth.  They claim it helps you lose weight, reduces stress and improves your skin tone and quality.  Made of desalinated sea water and said to be so potent, this is sold only in 2 oz. containers.  It’s suggested you mix a few drops with regular drinking water.

To achieve a gallon, it will cost you just over $2100!

2. Exousia Gold 

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Ironically, the entry at #2 isn’t taking the gold– although it does contain it.

The atomic properties of Exousia Gold contains real gold (24 carat) and is supposed to give this water anti-aging properties.  Of course, it comes at a price– $24,000!

I can’t provide you with the source or distillation process on this one however.  It’s a well-guarded secret.

1. Acqua di Cristallo Tributo a Modigliani – 750 ml

 

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And coming in at #1 and THE most expensive bottled water on Earth is Acqua di Cristallo Tributo a Modigliani.  Almost as extravagant as the bottle is this one’s name.

This time the bottle is made of 24-carat gold and designed by Fernando Altamirano.  You may know that name as a designer for Tequila Ley, one of the most expensive spirits manufacturers in the world.

Sourced from locations all around the world, the water inside the bottle gets virtually little attention despite it also containing 5 milligrams of gold dust.  It’s the bottle itself that steals the show here.  Based on artwork by the late Italian artist Amedeo Clemente Modigliani, this sold at auction in Mexico City in 2010 for $774,000 pesos, or $60,000 U.S.

Is $60,000 out of your price range?  Perhaps you’d like to downgrade to versions at more affordable $3,600?  You can try their versions in gold matte, silver, silver matte and crystal.

 

So…what you are waiting for?  Go hydrate yourself!

I Want to Turn Your Cream Into Butter

by Kristie LeVangie

Okay, you with the dirty mind.

Unfortunately, I’m not talking about your “man juice.”

In fact today, I’m not talking about you at all.  But you are welcomed to hang with us ladies for a bit.  I may turn you onto something new.

And no, Pitmaster Jimi, I’m not stealing your thunder today either.  This isn’t an article about food.

This IS an article about a great new product I quite discovered by accident and now use religiously!

I’m a big fan of convenience.  With a busy life, I like to get shortcuts anyway I can, and one of my big kicks lately is subscription products.

Subscriptions these days are more than just magazines and newspapers.  I have scheduled deliveries of organic vegetables to beauty products coming to the house…and everything in between.  I’m a big fan of spending less time in stores with crowded lines, limited selections and navigating through unnecessary clutter to find what I’m looking for.  To me, it’s worth a few bucks to save the hassle.

So when I ran across a subscription service for my man that delivered shaving supplies to the house, I was on-board immediately.  And when I found out it was a fraction of the cost, I was ecstatic!

If you haven’t heard of Dollar Shave Club, I suggest you google them right after you finish my article.  With packages ranging from $1/month to $9/month for razor blades, there’s a level that fits right into your budget for sure.  (Compare that to mainstream store replacement blade prices!  Savings of about $4 PER BLADE.) And while it’s marketed to men, I actually have and use The Executive on all my various lady bits.  It’s a dream.

But even that isn’t why I’m here writing this article.

I’ve been a user of shave gels and creams since my teen years.  I just prefer the added lubrication it offers, particularly with the frequency in which us women have to shave our legs.  And because my skin in general tends to lean toward the drier side, it’s sometimes aggravating to my leg skin to use only soap.

But I also have teen girls.

So a few weeks ago as I was in the bathtub and reaching for my shave cream– you know where I’m going with this, right?– it was completely empty.

But…he had ordered some Shave Butter from Dollar Shave Club to try it.  So I had a handy substitute.

Dollar General Shave ButterI had encouraged him to give it try after seeing the natural ingredients touted on their website: Golden Barley, Organic Prickly Pear Cactus, Pacific Sea Algae, Black Willow Bark, Vitamins A, C, E, and Oat Extract.  And I especially enjoyed their advertising messaging, “TRANSFORM THE DREAD OF SHAVING INTO THE JOY OF SOFTLY WIPING WHISKERS OFF YOUR FACE.”

Ladies, I’m here to tell you that after that one “seeing the light” experience, I will NEVER go back.

The formula is safe for sensitive skin and actually leaves my legs feeling more moisturized.  I feel like I’m doing something great for my skin.  I have yet to cut myself shaving and love the smell.  Best part is that it’s only $8 for a 6-ounce tube that quite frankly lasts longer than my creams ever seemed to.

Now…I just have to keep it a secret from those damn girls.

So check out their site, watch some fucking hilarious marketing videos and place your order. Tell them Libidacoria Magazine sent you. Now go! Here’s the link.

Something To Think About

by Kristie LeVangie

The Human BrainThe U.S. military announced this week in a July 8th news conference that it has chosen two universities to help develop brain implants to help veterans who suffer from brain injuries restore their declarative memory. The universities chosen were UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania in Philly.

The initiative, called Restoring Active Memory, or RAM, will attempt to develop wireless neuroprosthetic implants to help vets recall memories from before their injury and aid in their ability to form and retain new memories.

TBI, or traumatic brain injury, affects more than 270,000 U.S. veterans and almost 1.7 million civilians each year. There are currently very few options for the injured, but the use of implanted electrodes has shown success in treating Parkinson’s as well as other brain conditions.

According to LiveScience.com, “The UCLA team will focus on studying memory processes in the entorhinal cortex, an area of the brain known as the gateway of memory formation. Researchers will stimulate and record from neurons in patients with epilepsy who already have brain implants as part of their monitoring and treatment. The researchers will also develop computer models of how to stimulate the brain to re-establish memory function.

The University of Pennsylvania team will focus more on modeling how brain circuits work together more broadly, especially those in the brain’s frontal cortex, an area involved in the formation of long-term memories. The university is collaborating with Minneapolis-based biomedical device company Medtronic to develop a memory prosthesis system. [Flying Saucers to Mind Control: 7 Declassified Military & CIA Secrets]”

As I read the coverage, I can’t help but think we are on the verge of Gattaca or perhaps, Men in Black.

While THIS research focuses on restoring memory, if successful, I can see follow-up research to alter or even destroy memories.

Think about it.

Would you pay to forget your last relationship? How about to erase a traumatic childhood? Or a traumatic rape?

Conversely, would you pay to access certain memories that may lay dormant?

Imagine the power for a minute, and what if it fell into the wrong hands?

What if you could alter someone’s memory to take the blame for something they didn’t do? Or at the very least to provide yourself an alibi?

These scenarios are far from fruition as so much mystery still surrounds how the brain actually functions, but these are all things our grandchildren or even great-grandchildren may have to deal with.

I was shocked to learn that the RAM program is part of a broader BRAIN Initiative launched by President Obama in 2013. With $4.5 billion in backing and a 12-year plan, it’s either going to be a horrible waste of money or a monumental technological leap.

…But it’s definitely something to think about.

Mistress Elle: How’s It Hanging?

That’s right.  It’s time for your session with Mistress Elle.Elle

Mistresses operate best giving instructions.  😉

It’s easy.

1.  You submit your questions to mistress_elle@libidacoria.com.

2.  I share my googled research, sage advice, years of experience, and deliver it to you in one sarcastically biting blog.

Now…I still wonder why men seem so obsessed with their junk.  I mean I’m not complaining.  It’s more power for me.

This week I address the age old question, “How’s It Hanging?”

 

Q: How’s It Hanging?

Our next question comes from Chuck in KY:

Oh, Mistress,  I have a question.  If men are right-handed, does their member tend to hang more to the left? And vice versa, if they are left-handed, does their member tend to hang more to the right?

Well, Chuck,

Interested in this question, I submit unofficial polls on both my Facebook wall and to the forum of one of my favorite message boards.  The results were quite interesting and none too surprisingly inconclusive.

Some of the responses:

–          Left-handed and slight lean to the left!

–          I’m right-handed and he favors left

–          Right and right, it’s not hooked just a bit of a curve I’d say

–          I’m right-handed and lean to the left.

–          It hangs straight.

–          This morning it is slightly right of center….. and I am right-handed.

–          He is all left

–          I’m right-handed.  Mine Lil’ Willy hangs right but left ball is bigger, but when my switch is on,straight as an arrow.

–          Right-handed and my dick stays on the left pant leg if it goes to throw right I feel way off-balance.

–          It’s straight as an arrow.

So they hang left, they hang right, and some have no preferred side.

Interestingly, you aren’t the first person to question this either.  See Yahoo’s Question and Answer forum here: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080209141723AAikaEv.

There are many theories in the scientific world regarding “how it’s hanging”…and not just the shaft.

According to Professor Chris Mcmanus, the right testicle actually hangs lower than the left testicle due to its weight and volume.

Right side hernias are more common than left-side hernias probably due to its weight and volume. (http://www.hernia.org/main.html)

About correlations with handedness, it seems to be that in Right-Handers, the left-testicle is positioned lower.  Whereas with Left-Handers, it is the opposite.

Chang et al (1960) found that the right testis was the higher in 62.1% of 486 men, and the left testis higher in 27.4%, the two being equal in height in the remaining 10.5%.

Antliff and Shampo (1959) found an essentially similar result in 386 men, the right testis being higher in 65.1% and the left higher in 21.9%.

The two sets of authors mentioned above differ in their findings as to the effect of handedness, Chang et al claiming that the relationship is reversed in left-handers, whilst Antliff and Shampo found no such reversal.

Additionally interesting, it’s supposed to be well-known among tailors or those in the rag trade that most men dress left.  The rise is the vertical area between your waistband and your crotch. If your waistband is not resting over your hips, you need a higher (longer) rise. Men who are well endowed by their creator will either dress-left or dress-right. Most men in the U.S. dress-left, so most suits have a tad more width on the upper left leg of the trouser, near the crotch. (http://members.aol.com/mbastyle/web/suits1.html)

Another source theorizes that in most men the flaccid penis points slightly to one side rather than straight ahead.  The direction it points in correlates with what side the heart is on — which is on the left in most people.  Thus most men hang slightly to the left. One sign of dextrocardia (having ones heart on the right side of the chest instead of the left) is a penis that hangs to the right.

Among my small sampling of pollers, two other theories arose that:

1.      It may depend on the side to which a man sleeps
2.      The hand he uses to masturbate (“related to a counter-action against the sideways tug.  Everyone pictures male masturbation as a straight line motion, but since our arms are on either side of our bodies, there is a tendency for some side-ways pulling which can be more or less from person to person.”)

As you can see, science has yet to conclusively explain this.  Research varies, and unfortunately given the environment of sexual research in particular, we are likely to have no “firm” answer anytime soon.

Just be happy you aren’t this guy:

…And if you are, send the Mistress a little email. 😉

Cleansing Stigma

by Kristie LeVangie

It’s spring, and to me, that means more than home spring cleaning.  Since high school actually, I’ve been setting one week aside for fasting up until last year when an Advocare rep turned me on to “the cleanse”.   It hasn’t been due to religion or medical issues, it just makes me feel better.

I don’t set aside a specific time of the year, but I let my body dictate.  You can tell, once you start to listen, when you are feeling bloated, not excited about food, and non-energetic.  A week or so of “this” feeling, and I’m ready to reset my engine.

There are many cultures around the world that engage in fasting and cleansing regularly, yet every year I seem to run into the haters, the non-understanders, and the die-hard cynics.

 “You’re doing WHAT?  Why?”

“Good luck with that.”

“Yuck!”

“How can you go a whole week of not eating?”

Commentation often becomes more colorful as the week progresses.

 “Are you ready for cake?”

“I bet you are dying for a cheeseburger.  Huh?”

“I don’t know how you can drink that stuff.”

“Is it REALLY worth it?”

YES!  Yes, it is.

I’m in agreement with Gwyneth Paltrow, who also endorses cleansing for everyone.  And there are so many reasons why:

  1. Clear your body of toxins.  Processed foods and pesticide residues on grocery available food just don’t just disappear once consumed.  These chemicals actually attach to fat cells and hibernate in our bodies until those fat cells are burned up.  Thinking about how some of us pack weight around the mid-section, this should be alarming.
  2. Reset your metabolic clock.  It not only forces your body to rebalance your blood sugar, it also reduces cravings and crashes.
  3. Improved vitality.  Many experts agree that a gentle cleanse can provide mental clarity, emotional stability, and renewed sense of life and fitness.

There are many options available now, but do some research first.  You’ll need to find a method or product that will work best for you, and it doesn’t hurt to get some weigh-in from your family doctor.  Just be safe.

There are options for water only, DIY juice concoctions, shakes and supplements, and some that include actual food items.

Last year’s Advocare cleanse was remarkable.  Besides the horrible experience I had with the consistency of the citrus-flavored product, the taste of the Peaches and Cream version and the overall results were quite pleasing.

This year due to convenience, I opted for the GNC 7-day Total Lean program.  (There’s a GNC close to the house.)  Happy to report that on Day 2, I’m down over 3 pounds and hunger is starting to dissipate.

For GNC’s version, some food is allowed—mostly whole grain products, fruits, lean meats, and veggies.  These minimal portions are supplemented with shakes, and it includes a supplement pack in the morning and a cleanse drink at the end of each day.

Cleanses aren’t fun.  They aren’t meant to be.  Upsetting routine is always….well, upsetting.  That’s kinda the point.   But anything worth having…right?

There’s a certain give-and-take to the Universe, an equal-and-opposite reaction if you will.  And to pay for a year of indulgence, a week is certainly a small price to pay to maintain my overall health.

If you are a cleansing advocate, which system or product do you use?  Why do you do it?  Share your experiences and some of your favorite recipes below.

Kristie LeVangie Takes On Maura Kelly: Size Matters

by Kristie LeVangie

Too much of a good thing…can be wonderful. – Mae West

Sometimes, people just do obviously stupid things. In 2010, it was a writer for Marie Claire magazine, only I’m going to hold Marie Claire guilty as well since they obviously had to give permission to publish this heinous article. Tisk, tisk, MC.

So what’s the controversy?

Well, if you were hiding under a rock that year, or if you are fat and lazy like me and can’t get up from the couch, perhaps you haven’t heard that Maura Kelly posted a “fattie” bashing article on MarieClaire.com. More to the point, she posted a “fatties having sex” bashing article. You can read the full article here, but I pulled some of my “favorite” quotes for you below to save you the time and hassle of reading such distasteful reporting. Comments included:

“Hmm, being overweight is one thing — those people are downright obese!”

“Yes, I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room…”

“I’m happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them — but long story short, eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, read labels and avoid foods with any kind of processed sweetener in them whether it’s cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, increase the amount of fiber you’re getting, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, and do everything you can to stand up more — even while using your computer — and walk more. I admit that there’s plenty that makes slimming down tough, but YOU CAN DO IT! Trust me.”

“But … I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It’s something they can change, if only they put their minds to it.”

I think you get a sense of the hateful, condescending tone of the article. Again, tisk, tisk, Marie Claire. (And dammit, it even interfered with my enjoyment of the season 8 Project Runway finale. It’s tainted Nina Garcia!) *throws hands up in disgust

Maura’s reaction to the sexy scenes in the new CBS sitcom Mike & Molly was probably just one of those assignments she wanted to get out the door. It was a bad day when it backfired, wreaking havoc across the internet by anyone remotely overweight. And truth be told, there are a variety of backlash blogs to read on this issue.

I, being the queen (in every plus-size reference you can muster) couldn’t let this topic go without discussing it since it involves sex. Now could I?

And let me first start by saying, I’m not going to harp on the fact that many overweight people can’t “control” their weight due to health or hereditary issues. I’m not going to point out the fact that Maura throws out advice like an expert weight loss instructor but has no professional qualifications. (She’s a writer, not a personal trainer.) And I’m not going to ruminate about the possible causes of her disgust with obesity. This is not a personal attack on Maura, but a reaction to her article.  (And of course, by not stating I’m going to point them out…I totally just pointed all that out! lol)

I weigh more than 200 pounds, and not only do I love sex, I have it…LOTS of it. If people are genuinely disgusted as Maura might suggest, why is it that I have no trouble finding a viable partner for pleasurable pastime activities? If obesity is truly disgusting and that ideal is shared by the majority, then why do the same men continue to knock at my door?

And I’m sure Maura’s next move would be to say that any woman giving it away so willingly will have no problem finding a man to take it…no matter what she looks like, but sexuality has historically been represented by curvier women. To support this argument, I would call out the great painter, Sir Peter Paul Rubens, or the sex icons – Mae West, Marilyn Monroe and Bettie Page. Hell, even Roseanne and Dan got frisky on mainstream sitcom television in my teenage years. Bill Clinton chased a plus-size Monica Lewinsky around the oval office, and even the promiscuously innocent Betty Boop proved cartoonized fleshy women can be lusted after. Hell, what about the ever notorious Elizabeth Taylor or the ever gorgeous Tyra Banks? Neither of these women has been at a loss for male companionship. And just try to deny of the beauty of Queen Latifah.

Curvy women have been celebrated, adored, and lusted after. This is nothing new.

Mike & Molly brings my sex life into the mainstream again. It represents for millions of women, like me, size 14 and up, that weight isn’t an excuse for turtlenecks and barnyard animal-embroidered denim shirts. A little cellulite is NOT an excuse for a missed orgasm. We, as an overweight society, have become so uncomfortable with ourselves because we listen to the media, subscribe to fashion magazines and just generally love to beat ourselves up. I say, No more!

Being sexy is a state of mind, not a thigh measurement or achieved qualifier on the bathroom scale. Sexy is about confidence, fun, exploration and mental intoxication. Sexy is about indulgent living, succumbing to temptations and living through our senses.

To all plus-size goddesses reading this, please don’t let the “Mauras” of the world mind-fuck you into devaluing yourselves. If the majority of us are size 14 and above, why are we continuing to let mainstream media cater to our lettuce-grazing, calorie-obsessing toothpick buddies?

Mike & Molly, while not a show personally enjoyed, is a representation of a more “real” couple, a couple most of us can identify with—far more relatable than reality shows like The Jersey Shore or The Real Housewives of ANY County, State or City.

And it’s blatantly obvious that Maura doesn’t watch much porn. Entire sections of porn libraries taut BBW fetish films and even feederism films that celebrate chunky lovin’.

I’m not calling out Maura because she’s thin. I’m not calling her out because I have hostility over my own size. I’m calling her out because that’s what I do when I see blatant closed-minded comments and blanket assumptions set out for the world to see. By publishing her article, she made herself free game to rebuttals and discussions.

I hate to be the one to lay it out for her, but fat people fuck. I even hear fat people fuck better. Size is a fleeting sign of the times. 1000 years ago, I would have been more sought after than my bony counterpart.

And with that I say, “Pass the ice cream.” Let’s talk about fat sex.

Share your thoughts.

There’s a Whole Other World You Can’t See in the Bathroom

by Kristie LeVangie

Today as the woman in front of me left the facilities without washing her hands, I began to ponder bathroom etiquette…or lack thereof.

Check out these little tidbits of bathroom info that will surely educate and entertain your friends during cocktail hour.

  • Two Arizona researchers, Denise Kennedy and Chuck Gerba, found that while men’s restrooms smell worse and contain more litter than women’s restrooms, women’s restrooms actually contain more fecal bacteria than men’s. Fecal bacteria, found in the intestinal tract, are an indicator of the potential presence of other disease -causing organisms that shed from the intestinal tract.  Kennedy discovered a two-to-one ratio between the bacteria in women’s and men’s bathrooms, which means there are more bacteria in women’s bathrooms to cause sickness. (http://wc.arizona.edu/papers/90/156/07_1_m.html)
  • Your purse could be making you sick.  Women rarely go anywhere without a purse, which means that if a woman enters a place full of germs, so does her bag. That could mean she ends up carrying around microbes that could make her sick all day long. Each time ABC News and Microbiologist Chuck Gerba ran an instant field test and later a lab test on swabs from the outside bottom of 10 women’s purses, every single one had at least some bacteria, most had tens of thousands and a few were saturated with millions. One even had 6.7 million bacteria. Half of the bags tested positive for coliform bacteria, which indicated the possible presence of human or animal waste. (http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/story?id=2283311&page=1)
  • This same microbiologist found that your cell phone is dirtier than a toilet seat. (http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Health/story?id=2273311)
  • According to iGR, women are 8% more likely to make a phone call from the bathroom and 5% more likely to send a text message from the bathroom. 42% of Americans have sent a text message from the bathroom.(http://www.textmessageblog.mobi/2009/05/11/texting-messag-bathroom/)
  • We go for the middle stall. Nicholas Christenfeld, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, found that 60 percent of the used-up rolls of toilet paper came from the middle stalls, suggesting our favorite choice is dead center. (http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/life/5-things-we-secretly-do-in-the-bathroom-2425352/)
  • People in Atlanta top the nation in taking their sweet time in the bath, with 62 percent staying 30 minutes or more, and 28 percent spending more than an hour. Seattle comes in second, with 60 percent taking more than 30 minutes. Go-go Miami is even faster, with 53 percent spending fewer than 30 minutes and 22 percent most likely using the phone, while efficient Minneapolis has 49 percent who claim to use the bathroom less than a half hour each day. (http://www.plumberprotects.com/whats_new_habit_survey.htm)
  • According to a study by Harris Interactive who interviewed 2000 adults, men’s greatest bathroom pet peeves with women are: toiletries and cosmetics scattered around the room (20 percent of respondents). Men were also annoyed by leftover toothpaste in the sink (20 percent), spots left on the mirror (20 percent) and dirty clothes left on the floor.  Women’s greatest pet peeves with men?  Twenty-eight percent said it’s when men leave the toilet seat up. The same number said it is when men leave toothpaste in the sink. Twenty-seven percent said they don’t like finding spots on the mirror and 22 percent do not like finding clothes on the bathroom floor. (http://www.dentalplans.com/articles/1832/uncovering-bathroom-pet-peeves.html)
  • In another Harris Interactive study of hand washing habits for the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) and The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA), 6,336 people who used the public bathrooms at six public attractions in four major cities were interviewed and found that when asked, 96% of men said they always washed their hands after using public restrooms, but just 75% were seen doing so.  83% said they washed their hands after using the bathroom at home. (http://boysguidebooks.blogspot.com/2010/03/not-washing-up-bad-habit-14.html)
  • According to answers.com, the average size of a bathroom is 9ft by 11ft.  (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_average_bathroom_size#ixzz1MoOgN5uT)