Day 176: The Very Silly Tomato

Hello Sunshine!

I hope this post finds you well and that you are enjoying the sun.  Today isn’t about vegetarianism but it is related to health: the health of your skin.

I nag people about their health.  I nag people for taking too many headache tablets or for not getting their prescription regularly checked for the glasses they wear.  I nag people about what food they should and shouldn’t eat — I have the nickname ‘food police’.  I nag people about smoking and taking drugs.

Now that the British sun is out, it is time for me to nag about it.  I am pale and I am proud. If I am on holiday I will sunbathe, but once the tan has faded I get on with my life as Casper the friendly ghost.  There are nights out when I might rub some instant tan into my pasty legs.  I love expensive beauty products, but when it comes to tanning I care so little that the most I’ll splurge is around £4 for Primark or Rimmel’s bronze offerings.  I banned Mother Asparagus from sun beds many years ago, and get annoyed by teenage girls who go on them regularly.  I can’t imagine anyone wanting cancer, but if you have sun beds you are literally asking ‘The Big C’ to pay you a visit.  Tanning has taken the spotlight of the press once again in the last few weeks because of Patricia Krentcil.  Patricia is the ‘tanorexic’ mum who allegedly took her five year old daughter into a tanning booth with her.

When I was about 14, I went on a school trip to Italy.  With no parents around, I knew that I could tan to my hearts content.  This resulted in me getting a very nasty black blister on my shoulder.  I was saved by a classmate who offered his Factor 100 Sunblock.  From then on, I have been sensible with the sun.  I know a lot about the effects of the sun, tanning and melanoma.  Yet, as I write this article, my skin is literally burning.  Sometimes, we are all a little silly and ignore what we know.  Today, I have sunstroke and have had to delay my return back to university.  My face is red and puffy, my arms sting when I move them. No amount of aftersun or Ben and Jerry’s is making me feel better.  Yesterday I sat outside and mocked the British sun.  I am part Maltese and decided that if I didn’t get burned in Egypt, I would be perfectly fine in my English garden.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  The fact I added a few drops of baby oil to the equation makes the situation even more silly.

The laughter and puns that the parent asparagus are making each time they see my “beetroot” “Tommy tomato” face are not helping, and are discouraging me from ever being seen in public again.

After 21years of nagging people, I feel stupid.  You may think I am stupid too, which is fine. If you want to sit there, all self-righteous, saying that you would never do the same thing then that’s fine too.  However, from the amount of photos my Facebook and Twitter friends are uploading, I know that I am not the only burns victim of the last few days.

I am too embarrassed to post photographs of myself, so I will leave you with this retro YouTube video:

In a few days, I will be golden brown.  A few days after that I will be pale again.  In future, I will wear sun cream and be careful.  I do not want melanoma.

Dear Asparagus followers, don’t be silly, be sensible.  Please do not estimate the power of the sun.  It’s hot.

With Love,

The Temporary Tomato

Day 134: Self-Esteem

Good day to you.

I hope that you have had a lovely Easter and are suitably filled with chocolate eggs. Today’s post is not linked to vegetarianism, but it is related to health and well-being.

A few days ago, an advert caught my eye and I wanted to share it with you.

The Silly Asparagus can relate to the advert, having suffered from low self-esteem for as long as I can remember.  When I was younger, I used to go to dance class.  I was a chubby child, and memories of putting on a green unitard twice a week still makes me shudder.  My feet also grew a lot faster than the other girls.  I would dread ordering new dance shoes and would delay doing so, because I knew that my dance teacher would make her usual jokes.  I made it through the worst (being a teenager), but when I approach a mirror I still have to make a very conscious effort to look at myself with a positive attitude. I know that I am not alone and suspect that you could share some similar stories.

Samantha Brick has been causing quite a stir in recent weeks — I’d be very surprised if you haven’t heard of her.  The gist of the story can be found here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2125138/Samantha-Brick-Daily-Mail-writer-goes-viral-controversial-Im-beautiful-article.html?ito=feeds-newsxml.  In a matter of hours, Samantha became a laughing stock. Social media sites turned savage, tearing the woman apart for her confidence and appearance.  I too found myself staring at this woman in disbelief and laughing at her comments.  Yet, if Miranda Kerr or Rosie Huntington-Whitely had said the same thing, we would all agree with them and admire their beauty.  Maybe we all need to be a bit more like Samantha Brick?  Maybe everyone should stand up and recognise their good points.  I often want to shake sense into my friends, when they call themselves fat or ugly. Continuous self-deprecation is not a desirable trait, is often untrue and is irritating for everyone involved.

In the past, Dove have featured ‘real women’ in their adverts.  Their new campaign focuses on improving the self esteem of young girls.  Their website states that “The Dove Self-Esteem Programme was founded to ensure that the next generation grows up into happy and content adults, free from misconstrued beauty stereotypes and the burden of self-doubt.”  Dove will donate money from their products to charity.  The website also provides helpful resources for children, parents and teachers to use (http://www.dove.co.uk/dsep/support-tools/workshops.html).

There are always debates about what causes low self-esteem and issues with body image.  Because it is continually being discussed, I feel that people are becoming bored or  desensitised with the topic.  The problem is only getting worse, so brands like Dove bringing the issue back into the spotlight will hopefully help combat problems.

The only negative aspect of the campaign is that it is aimed solely at females.  Whilst things such as eating disorders are more prevalent amongst females, males also suffer.  Plastic surgery figures amongst males are continuously rising.  There are items for sale like ‘guyliner’ (eyeliner for men). Males also feel the same pressures to look good and ‘improve’ themselves.  However, the charity that Dove are supporting, Beat (http://www.b-eat.co.uk/) does help people of all ages and gender.

I hate to sound cliché, but remember that you are beautiful.

With love,

The Silly Asparagus

Day 129: Dairy Débâcle

Hello darling.

If you haven’t guessed from the title, this post is about dairy.  Last summer, whilst on a diet, my skin became quite bad.  Through a process of elimination, I realised that it was milk and certain cheese that angered my face.  After cutting out these products, my skin showed an instant improvement.

My findings were strengthened in Elle UK.  The April issue of Elle features a brilliant article about dairy products, ‘Truth About Dairy’. There are so many quotes I would love to share with you, but that will have to wait until I get my copy back — I left it at university and Elle May is now gracing the shelves.

What the article outlines are the reasons that cow’s milk is unsuitable for humans.  I am not a scientist, but the general gist is that a lot of humans do not have enough of the enzyme, lactase.  Lactase is needed to breakdown lactose (the sugar found in dairy).  Approximately 70% of people show some degree of lactose intolerance (it does not have to be severe).

Since January, my diet has not been particularly healthy.  It is time to replace my love of bagels for breakfast, with Weetabix again.  Ah, but what to pour over them asked Goldilocks?

Soya milk? Too typical.

Rice milk? Too high in carbohydrates.

Almond milk? Just right!

I very much enjoyed my first encounter with almond milk today.  It’s slightly sweeter than cow’s milk, which is great because I no longer need to cover my Weetabix in sugar (The Silly Asparagus has a very sweet tooth).

Almond milk is suitable for vegans and high in antioxidants.  Other benefits include being lower in fat and calories than semi-skimmed milk.

If you are anything like Mother Asparagus, you will start defending cow’s milk.  What about calcium? Almond matches semi-skimmed to the milligram when it comes to calcium.  Foods like sesame seeds and nuts contain more calcium than cow’s milk.  Okay, B12? Eggs contain more B12 than cow’s milk.  If you are a peschatarian, clams and mackerel are extremely high in B12.  Protein?  Pumpkin, squash, nuts and cheese are just some of the products that have higher protein levels than milk.  For Vitamin C, think peppers, broccoli, kiwi and orange.

I have not even reached the ethical questions that surround the treatment of animals in the dairy industry.  I won’t discuss ethics now.  However, I remember vegan tutor (learn more about him here: https://sillyasparagus.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/day-4-im-spartacus/) shuddering over dairy, stating that “The dairy industry is even crueller than the meat industry”.

Well, I hope that has given you some food for thought.  Time to get back to my Weetabix.

The Silly Asparagus

Day 107

I wasn’t going to do a post today, but I have just read an amusing article by Suzanne Moore and thought I would share it with you:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/14/meat-vegetarianism-dietary-advice-class?CMP=twt_gu

Whilst she is not a vegetarian and will continue eating what she deems ‘Frankenmeat’, Suzanne shares some funny anecdotes about her vegetarian daughters.  I can especially relate to the part about Quorn.

Enjoy.

With love,

The Silly Asparagus.