Are We in the US Really Free?

On a Facebook discussion of Donald Trump, a woman just said the following in regard to whether we Americans are “free.” It makes me wonder how much of our freedom is a bill of goods we are being sold, especially after visiting France, where my friends laughed at me over the concept of being afraid of the police.

“Nancy Lee, Americans fear most of the entities in control. The IRS being a really good example, the police and their judicial system. They don’t trust doctors or pharmaceuticals. It’s one of the easiest countries in the world to live in because the only thing a person has to care about is themselves. It’s very hard to explain but every other country I have ever been to had rules in place that took care of your neighbors. And in taking care of others, everyone’s life was improved. I have seen such poverty in the US, no middle class to speak of. I used to think a person could not starve to death in the US, how wrong I was. With what we pay for taxes here, or some of us because most people I know either don’t pay or pay the least they can, medical requirements should be a given for everyone in this country. No person should die leaving their family millions in debt. When I lived in Canada, I had more American neighbors than Canadian. They needed medical help and got it without breaking Canada. I have seen doctors in Europe and Australia and was never given a bill. I can’t even afford to be healthy here.”

She makes some great points. So, have we been been fooled by propaganda that we are “free,” when most of us can barely afford more than the necessities and kids are now slaves to student loans their entire lives if they want to go to college and the public system doesn’t have what they want? When even I, a 54 year old professional white woman, is fearful when stopped by the police? When a letter from the IRS brings visions of financial ruin?

is it all a big sham? Because after being in France, I’m really starting to think it is.

Review of the Ideal Protein diet

imageI started on the Ideal Protein diet on May 11th. As of this morning, I’m down 20 pounds.

Me, before:

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Yes, the foods are restricted and expensive. Yes, the veggies get boring. Try roasting them with a little olive oil and I use an Asian spice and salt. But this diet does work. When I quit smoking 12 years ago, I gained 40 pounds at my worst. When I started this diet, I was 35 pounds over my quit smoking weight. I’ve lost 18 to 20 of those pounds in about 10 weeks. I’m not having the really fast weight loss some others have, but I add 2 snacks during the day because I can’t go with no food between meals. I have 1/2 a protein bar around 10AM and the other 1/2 around 2PM. I don’t always have the evening snack. So my weight loss has been slower, but steady. And I’m not weak on this, like I was on Medifast.
The expense is relative. $120 a week is high, but that’s 2 meals out a week for my husband and I. And you phase off. I’m going to France next week and didn’t phase off, but I have learned a lot about how to eat now. No pasta at dinner. No bread at dinner. No processed foods. Eat clean and green. It’s a lifestyle change, too, folks. We Americans eat horribly!!! Prepackaged foods, meats filled with hormones and antibiotics, bread three times a day. I can’t go back to eating that way and keep the weight off, and I think I have really learned because I see examples around me everyday of very heavy people with huge health issues. I’m 54 years old, and if I want to be healthy and active into my 80s, knock wood, I can’t be very heavy.
I love the dark chocolate drink mix for breakfast – I make it in the blender with some ice and it really tastes good! My favorite! Soy nuts or a peanut butter and chocolate protein bar, split between morning and afternoon snacks. The “potatoes” or soup and veggies for lunch – watch the veggie list, some are high in carbs. Dinner is lean and green – and I’m amazed at how much I’m enjoying eating lighter at dinner. It feels very healthy and I’m full. Snack at night.
It is a great kick-starter and the rest is up to me for the rest of my life. I’m going back to triathlon training when I’m finished with Phase One. The women I work with who gained a lot of weight back all drink quite a bit. I don’t, so I’m hopeful as long as I’m mindful of what I put in my mouth, I’ll maintain a healthy weight. (Healthy, not skinny, mind you.) And it really feels better to have salmon or chicken and veggies for dinner than a big bowl,of pasta and bread. If I want that when I’m done with this diet, I’ll eat that at breakfast or lunch.
This diet really does work. 🙂

 

Review of “The Tightwad Gazette”

I read the good reviews of this book on amazon, but decided to begin my tightwad ways, so I took it out of the library. After reading about 5 pages, the book languished on my bedstand, costing me 5 cents in overdue fees because I forgot it was even there. I am so glad I didn’t waste my money on this book. I have several issues with this book:

1. Organization: Amy Dacyczyn’s book is horribly organized!! On the cover are enticements such as “Tightwad crafts and hobbies.” I was interested in this topic, so imagine my surprise that neither craft nor hobby was listed in the index!! I couldn’t find it, so I gave up looking after about 10 minutes. Same for some of the other cover topics. And since the book is based on newsletters, there is no rhyme or reason for the listing of the topics.

2. Tone: much of what Ms. Dacyczyn suggests seems to be because of mean-spiritedness and lack of experience. She goes on and on, using anecdotal evidence, about how today’s kids are so jaded they don’t enjoy a walk in the woods or making cookies. So untrue!! Most kids love to do these things – their parents don’t have a lot of time, so they don’t do it often, but as a teacher I can tell you that children talk about these times in school with their classmates showing great excitement. She uses what she calls “Creative deprivation” so that her kids enjoy the one JUNIOR ice cream cone they get a year! I was by no means spoiled, but you don’t have to make a huge deal of out ice cream! It is an innocent pleasure, and part of childhood, to love and eat ice cream! Most of her ideas seem like she is depriving her kids so that she can write about it and make tons of money! I would hate to be her kid – especially if I was the one who had XXX in all my clothes to show I am the third girl! Yikes!! And if I want philosophies on effective child rearing, I certainly wouldn’t listen to someone so cheap that she deprives her kids to make a point. I’ll listen to someone who has a clue about child-rearing.

3. Ideas – many of her ideas are impractical and useless. I am sorry, Amy, I don’t want to donate my body to science to save on my funeral costs. And the ideas readers send in – there must be a contest to see who can come up with the most ridiculous way to save a penny! Lots of winners here!!

So between the lousy organization, the meanness of how the author treats her poor kids and the useless ideas – be a tightwad and do NOT buy this book!!