Should We Thank Donald Trump for this Sh*t Storm?

Bear with me; I haven’t lost my mind…yet.

I was thinking about everything last night and wondered if we have, indeed, finally reached rock bottom with this administration. I don’t think we have. We have definitely been sinking since Day 1 but, judging by the way he’s still being defended by his party, we haven’t yet hit the bottom. Given the availability of the political news, it’s hard to ignore what’s happening. The only logical conclusion is that we are in big trouble. This leaves me wondering what, exactly, needs to happen before action is taken and, just as importantly, who is going to take that action? Continue reading “Should We Thank Donald Trump for this Sh*t Storm?”

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK_Jr
Martin Luther King, Jr.

We think we know the man we’re honoring today because of his accomplishments, but there is so much more to him than those already well-known facts.  Born on January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. became an activist and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.  This man became most well known for his advancement of civil rights and his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  What I didn’t know, however, was a lot more about the man himself, his story, his struggles and the personal accomplishments that he achieved in his too short 39 years.  After learning more about him, I really have more admiration for the man than I had before.  Overcoming many obstacles and achieving many successes at such an early age, he remained true to himself, his values, and his beliefs.  That’s something to admire, both in a leader and in an individual. Continue reading “Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Holiday Treats for All!

holiday_treats
holiday treats

Who doesn’t enjoy a holiday treat like cookies, candy, fudge or cake?  Well, those of us with celiac disease typically can’t indulge since it’s rare to find a gluten-free item included.  It’s really hard to manage this, as well as other food allergies, during the holidays when all of these goodies show up at work, friends’ homes, and at family dinners.

I think we’re all at least somewhat familiar with celiac disease these days.  It’s become much more common than it used to be and is all over the news and social media.  We likely know someone with either a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease itself.  According to the Celiac Disease Foundation:

“Celiac disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.  It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.  Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.”

If you or someone you love is affected with celiac disease, this is one of several amazing resources.  They offer information, product suggestions, recipes, etc.

Since it’s become more publicized, it’s become both easier and more difficult to manage.  You would think that with the additional publicity, resources, and additional gluten-free food offerings, both in the store and at restaurants, it would be easier to eat gluten-free.  It is, in a way.  However, there are so many foods being offered as gluten-free that truly aren’t, it’s frightening to me as a consumer.  At this time, manufacturers are not required to test their product in order to label it as gluten-free; it’s up to the individual manufacturer to ensure that they meet their labeling requirement.   In restaurants, you have to be cautious as well.  Just because they use a gluten-free crust or gluten-free pasta doesn’t ensure that your pizza or your meal is safe.  The preparation, the tools, the surfaces, and the pasta water must all be separate and gluten-free as well.   As much as I appreciate the extra effort by companies and restaurants to accommodate our needs (even though we pay much more for the privilege) it’s not fair to me, as a consumer, to be told something is gluten-free when it’s really not.  It IS up to me, however, to verify this information to my own satisfaction and to then decide whether I will purchase from them or not and choose whether to eat there or not.  Personally, I’m sticking with those brands that are certified or Celiac Support Association-approved (another great resource for lists, resources, and info.) and those restaurants that are diligent in their preparation.

It’s hard enough to manage a gluten-free diet on a regular basis and make these decisions.  To do so around the holidays is the worst!  We are faced with these temptations daily and, as much as we want to give in, we can’t!  It’s not just a matter of gaining a pound or two; it’s a matter of getting sick and setting off an internal process that damages our body and hurts us.  In consideration of your gluten-free friends and family that will likely be with you around the holidays, please honor their restrictions without making them feel guilty or embarrassed by it.  Please feel free to ask questions and we would be happy to provide information on brands or ingredients, etc.  We’re happy to talk about it and share information and awareness.  If you would like to provide something for your guests to enjoy (especially kids), there are lots of gluten-free grab-and-go boxed cookies and cakes at the grocery stores.  Please remember to store and serve these separately!  Fresh fruit or vegetables (with a g-f dip?) are great. There are also so many more things that we can cook and bake such as Chex mixes, candied nuts, fudge, and baked goods with gluten-free flour and ingredients.  I use Progresso cream of mushroom soup in my cooking without issue.  We have lots of resources and we must rely on the information provided to us.  Trust me; we are no happier than you are about this.  We need to make sure that, when it says gluten-free, that it actually is.  Please help us stay safe throughout this holiday season.

Protesting – One of Many Tools

protest
protest

Interestingly enough, there are protests being held both in the United States and in South Korea regarding the behavior of the president (or president-elect).

In South Korea, there are more than 500,000 people peacefully protesting in Seoul to demand the president’s resignation.  Their president has apologized twice for the scandal involving a long-time friend that was getting advance policy information with which to advise the president on a number of state affairs.  The friend had no experience or official position and has been accused of an abuse of power and fraud.  It is believed by some that the president is simply a mouthpiece of several others making decisions behind the scenes.  According to a demonstrator: “It’s an explosion of their feelings,” demonstrator Jinwon Kim says of the crowds. “People are very angry.”

Back here in the United States, we are also experiencing protests in various cities throughout the country about our recent presidential election.  Thousands of people are marching in the streets carrying the message of “Not My President”.  These protests appear to be unprecedented in American history.  The protesters are acting on their displeasure with the president-elect’s behavior, words, and decisions.   This election has been singular in the negative, angry, threatening and divisive remarks being made throughout the campaign.  I think most of our country has agreed on that.  The fact that our new president-elect has made so many Americans feel unwelcome, angry, frightened, and unsafe is turning into a big problem for him and the people are letting him know how they feel.  This is key-we have to acknowledge people’s feelings, whether we agree with them or not and whether we believe they are justified or not.  It doesn’t matter how each of us feels; we need to respect everybody’s right to express their opinion.  THIS is the American way.

We hoped that whoever won the election would move forward in a much more positive manner, one that we could all get behind and believe in.  The fact that our votes were almost 50-50 obviously leaves half of us unhappy with the current president-elect.  What’s more American than protesting your dissatisfaction?  We are given the right to do this…peacefully.  There are positives for protesting.  We are letting Mr. Trump know that we are watching him, watching his choices, his actions, and his words (both tweeted and spoken).  We are going to hold him and his staff accountable for the promises he made, for pulling the country together and moving forward on a positive path.  It appears that, to date, he is not following the standard protocol in his actions…not about staffing choices, business matters, publicity and transparency, nor his communications.   I believe this is why people are now protesting.   I think most of us would like to believe that he will, very soon, become the person that we all want to have as president.  He has this one moment in history to make the right choices.  We’re all hoping that he does the right things.

This accountability is important and something that should be an ongoing process, not just when we’re unhappy about something.  We should all be watching the people that make decisions that directly affect us.  If you disagree with something, voice your opinion, become active in the cause, write a letter, make a phone call, and effect change.   Contact your member of Congress!  There is always work to be done at the local government level, which is what affects our daily lives in so many ways.  Getting involved is so important because it not only allows you some control in how your life is affected, but keeps you informed about the issues as well.  If we are all more involved in this process, we won’t need to rely on hearsay, Facebook, internet and television news stories that may or not be factual.  We will be educated participants in the process and be able to make informed choices on issues.

In most recent history, the Black Lives Matter movement was more prominent.  Do we all know what that was about?  Certainly…because it was out there, it was talked about, it was acted on, even if not always apparent.  This is how we, as Americans and South Koreans alike, can express our opinion, hold people accountable, and make change when necessary.  It indicates exactly how we feel about something and it needs to be acknowledged.  This is obviously a world-wide form of communication and one that is effective.   Protests, in whatever form they take, should always be acknowledged and taken seriously.