Current Events

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

PMS Pre-Menstrual Syndrome or The Day the Earth Stood Still

For many years I simply thought that I was just not a very nice person. I thought that confirmed, when in the first years of my marriage, sadly, I kept fighting and arguing with my husband. It was always emotionally so strenuous that I never got enough of a bird´s eye view in order to find a very predictable rhythm to it: The days before "my days"... My husband´s gentle and persistent confirmations that I was a good person finally formed the belief in something going on with me and the wish that I would not have to argue anymore, that I needed to DO something about it. Anger management came to mind. However that solution seemed still a little off target (particularly since it came up one of these special days, sobbing, potato chips packet in one hand and the chocolate box in the other, wearing comfy bunny slippers). Then, one day I read an article in the newspaper about a murder trial. A woman got a milder sentencing for MURDERING her husband because she was UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF PMS! Wow, if a judge and with him the juridical system cut a woman some serious slack for that because she was hormonally challenged, I figured I might as well go easy on myself and at the same time have a closer look at this special time that comes again every 4 weeks! If you think about it, only one day of PMS per cycle makes 13 days of insanity a year. That is practically a forthnight; and I am not so lucky as to be done with my nuttiness with on only one day!

So what is it all about this PMS? Another article truly opened my eyes: Finally a study has been done on how women experience the world during the pre-menstrual days. There it was, an extremely tricky contraption: Women don´t only feel cranky, have low patience and feel like the sorrow of the world is on their shoulders. They - WE - are CONVINCED in that very moment (through hormones just getting loose all over the body and creating a new reality) that this is the new world that is HERE TO STAY FOREVER!! WHAT? Not even the supersmarts of womanhood is gonna outsmart this (well at least not as long as we are not aware of it). So we don´t go ahead and say "yes I know it is my period coming up, I just need some quiet time and I will be fine. The world is still okay, I am still okay" No, all that is experienced in that moment, all the loss of patience, the crankyness, all the sad and bad news that suddenly pop up from everywhere (okay, just seeing a lost cat notice on a neighborhood lighting pole can have me sobbing and thinking the world has come to an end) are HERE TO STAY! We experience it and fully believe it that this WILL NEVER CHANGE AGAIN. Doomsday is here to stay. Now, that opened my eyes. The good news is that just knowing what happens chemically in the brain, truly is the first step to overcome it.

Of course there are other things that mess up the hormones more than others. So I try not to do the more and to make sure I do the others. For me, least possible intake of chips and other fatty or sugary food. Caffeine seems to do double duty during this specific time as well, so I go easy on that. Another tricky result from the study said that this need for nesting and being kind of slow paced makes many women stop doing their exercise, which increases PMS symptoms. So I do not ask myself whether or not I want to go for a run, I just go and do it. The study also showed that women are more introverted during the second half of the cycle (towards the period). So I don´t expect myself to be all too chatty during that time. Also, the way I recognize that "my days" are approaching is, when the 5th "idiot" in a row is coming my way in traffic . Then I know it is time to slam the brakes and cut myself (and the others) some slack. The reward is, no arguing anymore with my beloved husband and I almost always learn something about myself. Now I enjoy it when the earth stands still for me for a little while. So far, my husband still recognizes the oncoming special time before I do. I used to vehemently refuse that he was right. Now we get a good laugh out of it. After all, I could get away with murder AND I know I am a good person....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Organic Yes or No?

I grew up eating organic a) without) knowing it and b) before anyone was talking about it. It happened on the lush and green country side in Austria, with food coming from my mothers garden. When I went to college I moved to the metropolis Vienna and was on my own food-wise. Not to mention that I was not doing the home cooking like my Mum, I also did not buy "organic". Two years into it I developed a skin irritation that was here to stay: Neurodermitities. School medicine only offered Cortisone (but that is a different story). With patience and persistence I got symptom free. A big part of that I claim to my going back to eating organic.

For years I listened to the old debate whether buying organic is worth it. Like the chain smoking Grandfather of 100 years worldwide quoted by smokers it became the cheating organic farmer (you know the choke about what´s the difference between an organic and a conventional farmer? The organic farmer puts the fertilizer on the fields during the night...) mentioned in a newspaper to the non-believers in organic food. I say, I take that risk that once in a while I pay for an organic apple that is not 100 % organic. If I don´t buy organic I will 100 % have NOT organic.

I hardly ever participate in discussions like this, after all, everybody believes in what they choose to believe in. The only thing I recommend is to eat a conventionally grown carrot and an organically grown carrot. If you are at all preferring great taste, you will go organic for that single reason.

Only lately this topic came to a grotesque peak: Chatting over dinner (homecooked and organic at our house), a friend with a PhD in Biochemistry exclaimed on the topic whether organic is worth it: "I would rather put chemicals in my body than encounter a bug in my food!" That left me speechless. If you grow up on the country side, you would never say something like that. Life comes with bugs, THAT is normal. Chemicals - not so normal, because harmful.

At the end it all comes down to you making that simple choice: Bugs vs. Chemicals.

Are you a Bug-Person or a Chemicals-Person?