10 Alternatives Uses For Alternative Medicine

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I couldn’t listen to another puerile sales pitch in someone’s living room, promising the moon and then selling you something that “tastes just like sugar.” (It doesn’t. Not even sort of.)


That’s all the warning you’ll get for this one.


If you are an American woman, because I can’t officially speak for other countries who may or may not have similar circumstances, you have been invited, and have probably attended, a home-based alternative medicine meeting.

A home-based alternative medicine meeting is where someone you know is selling something you either already have or never thought you needed and they will bring someone into their house to do a song and dance about why you not only need it, but your life will improve because of it.

Think of it as LARPing informercials.

I have an EO that will cure orcs….

The thing with home-based alternative medicine meetings is that they suck. So much. I have no love for home-based alternative medicine meetings, and real friends don’t invite me.

My snark is available in glossy catalog form with a tear-out page in the back for subscriptions. Pro-level snark, my friends.

There was one year when an essential oils company got ahold of my church, and I went to a different essential oils meeting every few weeks forever.  I have watched these meetings showcase healing oils to cure headaches (fine), aches and pains (totally helpful), necklaces that cure epilepsy (wait), and diets that cure sciatica (what?).

Yeah, so anyway, that was when alternative medicine meetings really, finally jumped the shark for me.  I was done. I couldn’t listen to another puerile sales pitch in someone’s living room, promising the moon and then selling you something that “tastes just like sugar.” (It doesn’t. Not even sort of.)

We have all been there, and I know some people who love these meetings so much they have made it a part of their life.  And more power to those ladies! It brings them joy in life, and I can’t disagree with that on any level.

However…the rest of us are stuck with mystery vials, amber necklaces, and gluten-free cakes with the density of Krypton.

What do you do with all this stuff?

I’ll tell you what you do:


10 Alternative Uses For Alternative Medicines:

1. Essential Oils

We’re getting the big guns out of the way first.

If you are a friend of mine who uses essential oils, I just want to tell you that I love you. But maybe you should skip to the part where I tear apart amber teething necklaces…

I think essential oils are really amazing oils. No two ways about it, they function in pretty amazing ways.  I think you can burn warts off with the lavender, or maybe it was the basil? Even if you have a cold, the aromatherapy is very helpful. But I draw the line when they start curing epilepsy or sciatica. I seriously draw the line when women tell me they spray their backyard chickens with lavender essential oils.  It is just snake oil and crazy women at that point.

So — what do you do with the bottles you are stuck with? Because you bought a few bottles to support your friend. I know it.

Lavender: Use a carrier pigeon to carry it away.

Frankincense: This is a great anti-fungal oil, and you can spray it on windows — or Facebook — to wipe the smug off.

Peppermint, Grapefruit, Chamomile, Lemon: Apparently, this is helpful for mood-enhancing. Possibly time-travel.

Tea Tree Oil: Great for healing and re-growing limbs.

Essential Oils for Cats: Because they weren’t imperious enough, as it was. I would suggest rosemary, if you must. Or lemon. Honestly, if you are putting essential oils on your cats, maybe you should ask them what they like.

It is important to remember that essential oils do have the ability to turn you into a vampire, and will render you unable to stand in direct sunlight after applying.

2. Coconut Oil

The ugly step-sister to essential oils, coconut oil will cure diabetes, help you lose 50 pounds, and fix your broken sprinklers.

Experts in the field highly suggest using coconut oil to lubricate sticks lodged in difficult places.

3. DIY Everything

Have you ever thought, “I could probably make that”? Sure! We all have!

Have you ever thought, “I should make my own sunscreen?” or “I should build my own goat”? Of course you have, and you have a Pinterest page to prove it.

If you say things like, “This is like soap,” then it isn’t soap.

An alternative use for something that is like soap could be to plant it in the ground and grow a Sanctimoni-Tree that produces it’s own Self-Righteous Sap.

4. Amber Teething Necklaces

You can chew on them all day long, and they still won’t give you the DNA you need to make dinosaurs.

Might as well just hang them on your rear-view mirror.

 5. Sugar

Sugar could possibly be the downfall of Western civilization.

It could be.

Is it really an alternative medicine, though? Well, Mary Poppins thought so…and are you going to argue with Mary Poppins? Have you seen anybody argue with Mary Poppins?  Of course not. Because, technically, they don’t exist anymore.

If you know someone who believes sugar is the work of the Devil, and thinks it is completely normal to make birthday cakes out of whipped cashews, palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and almond paste…then maybe they need to step slowly away from the naturopath cookbook they bought at an MLM meeting, and remember that sugar is actually OK. It’s OK. We’ll all just say that together: sugar is not our enemy.

But these Pinterest alternative recipes sure are.

Because saying something is like a cake does not make it a cake. It makes it a gray, gelatinous goo in a cupcake liner that has the consistency of toothpaste.

And no one should blow out a birthday candle in toothpaste.

6. Gluten

Oh yes. The Gluten.

Gluten is also not the downfall of Western civilization. Gluten-free is not the alternative to life.

Simply put, anything replacing gluten is an alternative to taste.

I don’t have a choice in the matter, but you still do! Go! Save yourselves from the overabundance of rice flour and potato starch!

An alternative use for gluten-free cinnamon rolls: solar panel epoxy.

Gluten-free pasta may be used for: fish bait

Gluten-free tortillas could possibly substitute for: bridal wedding veils.

 7. Fermented Anything

For a while, anything fermented would cure anything. A cold? Autism? Measles? The pox? Syphilis? Fermented green beans will cure them all through the magic of ferment.

If you have to hide something in the back of a hot closet in a pot for three weeks, then bring it out and try to convince me that it is the best wet moss I have ever tasted, I am going to tell you my opinions on the matter. And unlike your 3-month-old, mostly-forgotten sauerkraut, my opinions are fresh and zesty.

Fermented foods can be great. Truth be told, I do love me some good sauerkraut. From a jar. That I bought. From a store. That has the FDA backing it up.

The back of someone’s pantry that has mice and pantry moths traveling through it does not.

So, what else can we do with the thousands of mason jars filled with seasonal vegetables, fermented with milk and forgotten in time?

You back slowly away and do not make eye contact with the jar.

8. Any Drink That Rhymes With Pink.

If you think

any drink

that rhymes with pink

might help you shrink…

Perhaps an alternative use for the money you spent

would be better used, in a large percent,

On a bridge I have to sell

through a certified London cartel.

 9. Bone Broth

Bone broth is not an anagram for bourbon.

 10. Hugs

There is no alternative to hugs. Apply liberally and with great umph.

You will cure many ills and ailments with this one, though.

Motherhood And Impostor Syndrome


“What am I doing? What am I doing with this? I don’t know what I am doing as a mother. I’m out of ideas, I just know it . . . I am all washed up. My children are doomed. And I’m not even 40. Now what?”

-my mind


Twelve years ago, the Mom train rolled in to my station, and I have been singing “I-Think-I-Can” ever since.

What surprises me most about being a mother is how much I don’t feel like a mother.

When I was pregnant, I thought that some ethereal hormone would magically show up in my system and turn me into the mother that existed in my imagination. A mother with a firm countenance and gentle smile, always ready to tackle the conflicts of life with a plate of freshly-baked cookies. Suddenly, I would know how to style my hair to look respectable. My lapels would be starched, my pants ironed. This was the mother I believed I would become, once my uterus was activated with life. I was going to be the perfect mother. I just knew it.

None of this happened.

What actually happened was a rough pregnancy fueled by hives upon hives that lasted for a solid five months, followed by a swollen nether-region that was only comforted by the frozen infant diapers that clung to my mesh underwear, and every inch of hope that it wouldn’t look like that forever.

My new reality was sleeping when I could, eating like a horse, nursing with bleeding nipples, and ordering my husband to restock the lanolin, immediately.  My new reality was planning days for me and my kids to learn, explore, and thoroughly enjoy this incredible life we had together.

Starching lapels and baking cookies weren’t even on the radar. Not after the Mom train rolled in.

The thing was, I thought the train that rolled in was the Mom train. In the beginning, I was so distracted by all the expectations I had for myself — who I wanted to be, what mother I was going to become, what child I was going to raise, and all the other things I thought would be on this train and Amazon-Primed to me overnight — that it took me a long time to realize that it actually wasn’t the Mom train that showed up on my doorstep.

It was my train.

With my name on it. And everything I was, and everything I had become, was on that train. The bold woman with a never-ending supply of opinions was on that train. The slightly overweight woman who looked amazing in a corset was on that train. The woman I became after five years of marriage, after a college degree, after holding my children in my arms and listening to their beautiful little stories about mermaids and dinosaurs, was the mother I had become.

I never received that ethereal hormone, or an instruction manual on what a lapel even looked like.

When my train rolled in, I already was the mother I had actually always wanted to be.

I was my children’s mother. And we were going to do amazing things together.

The other morning, I woke up with a Mary Poppins song stuck in my head. Really, for no good reason whatsoever. I haven’t watched Mary Poppins in years, although I have the whole darn thing memorized. Why wouldn’t I? Mary Poppins is what all mothers should be, right?

(Julie Andrews is the bomb. There is no denying that.)

So, my brain goes retro that morning, well before coffee, and puts the Nanny song that the children chanted, while kneeling on their studio-set living room rug, on repeat:

If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition
Rosy cheeks, no warts!
Play games, all sort

You must be kind, you must be witty
Very sweet and fairly pretty
Take us on outings, give us treats
Sing songs, bring sweets.

A little on the demanding side from the kids, if you ask me. Always cheery? Very sweet? Rosy cheeks? 

Maybe this singing duet never saw their mother prep the house to host a birthday party with 25 guests, only to discover that the Pinterest cake would fail miserably and the trendy games would fall flat. That the brilliant idea of having Frozen-themed karaoke would also fail, because, unbeknownst to her, the other children aren’t allowed to watch TV. They don’t even know the songs that you have already heard 5 million times.

Not only is this mother out of ideas on how to save her daughter’s birthday at this point, but she spilled that spoonful of sugar, the one that can magically fix anything, on the cat.

Perhaps they had they never seen their mother after spending weeks prepping for a year of homeschooling and scouring the Internet for the best curriculum for each of her children, trying to figure out which math books to use for each child’s individual needs. Maybe they haven’t found their mother staring off into the distance, her hands still in the kitchen sink, while she worried about her son’s asthma this summer.

I don’t know if they ever wondered how their mother battled her own demons, who insisted she was completely inadequate — an outright impostor — after a playdate in a home with cream-colored carpets, zero screen time, and matching bento boxes lined up on the counter. A counter that doesn’t have jelly staining the edges, thanks to the toddler who has discovered how to make breakfast for herself before the crack of dawn.

Impostor Syndrome is the unwanted caboose on the train of motherhood. It is the trailing thoughts that give you the absurd ideas that you are a fraud. You suck at baking cookies. All of the decisions you have made for your family are wrong: Bottle instead of breast? Disposable diapers instead of cloth? Have you actually vaccinated your children? How is your marriage?

Who are you, anyway?

Impostor Syndrome makes us believe there is a Mom train. The Mom train doesn’t have mothers who have tattoos, or who homeschool, or who think iPads and Netflix are awesome. Somehow, this train defines us all, creating an expectation we can’t meet. It creates this ridiculous idea that there is something all mothers should become, and that anything less will destroy their children, their families, and themselves.

Rosy cheeks and cheery disposition, my butt.

The fact of the matter is . . . Mary Poppins wasn’t the mother.

She was the nanny. When her shift was over, she popped that magic umbrella of hers open and flew away.

Their mother, Mrs. Banks, was still there. She encouraged their father to interact with their children more lovingly. At the end of the story, she was the one holding her children’s hands as they walked home from their infamous kite-flying adventure, the one who got them into their pajamas and tucked them into bed. She was the one who, presumably, watched them sleep at night, grateful for every bump, scrape and hug she got to spend with them.

Mrs. Banks was not an impostor.

Mrs. Banks was mother. In her story, Mrs. Banks was involved in the suffragette movement to change the future for her children. Mrs. Banks had order in her house, and made sure her children were taken care of. Mrs. Banks never baked cookies to solve a crisis in the house, or even once picked up the iron.  She was a strong woman who loved her family, and in the end she was a damn good mother.

Just like I am.

Just like you are.

Sometimes it’s all Sunshine and Rainbows, and Sometimes it’s Water Coming Out of your Ceiling.


I have been enormously lucky for a very long time.

Well, part of it has been luck. Most of it has been a mosaic of prayer, micro-managing, working my tookus off, praying, hard work, micro-managing and agendas.

But either way, I have had a really good streak of luck for a long time, and for that I am grateful.

Because those days are ovah.

Okay, they’re not seriously ovah, but today has been a long day…and I realized that it’s been a while since this has happened to this extent, and honestly, that is something to be grateful for.

But before I get to honest gratitude, I get to whine about stuff.

I have a lot of homework to finish. I’m confident about it, but it’s still a lot. I have one paper that is due next week where I had to redo the entire thesis/primary source/secondary sources…which is fine. This one is going to work better, and I will hopefully do very well on the paper in the end. But it’s still starting from scratch, and that’s work. The dishes are backed up (which is normal for us). The laundry has piled up beyond what I am even normally comfortable with. The kids rooms need to be cleaned/detrashed (which is an effort in the girls’ room). Ben did a load of towels yesterday, and then the kids used them to clean up the flooded toilet downstairs, so now we’re doing towels again. Last night the toilet upstairs flooded (what is going on), and now there is a bubble in our ceiling downstairs. We’ve called contractors and they are “booked for months.” At least it isn’t dripping anymore. Ben went in to work today and the parking lot was entirely full because there is a Boston/Mariners game today, so he had to drive onto the ferry (which is a pretty penny). And then there were a bunch of streets blocked off for hours around the ferry terminal at that time because Grey’s Anatomy was shooting some car chase scenes on the Viaduct, so everyone was running late for work. I would like to just lay in bed and watch meaningless movies like Overboard all night, but Ben is out for the next few evenings and I need to take the time to spend working on the essays and crank them out so I have ample time to edit all next week.

The kids are fine, they are happy and being very helpful and productive. I am very proud of how well they are handling my suddenly extremely busy schedule, which they have never encountered before. This is the first time I have had a very serious and time-intensive schedule outside of homeschooling/home-tendering, and I was worried how it might affect the kids on the first round, but they have been very patient and very helpful, and that has been a delight for me.

Ben and I are wonderful, as always.

But all these little cracks crinkling around? They’re being filled with wine.


The Tortilla Makes The Taco

Street Tacos

I have to admit something:
I got a bad queso needing tacos.
So let’s not burrito ‘round the bush.
Let’s taco ‘bout how awesome tacos are.


If you’ve not seen The LEGO Movie, I actually highly recommend it. It has cute, wholesome characters, a ridiculously predictable plot but lots of fire, explosions, chase scenes and witty one-liners. Those are the kinds of movies you can watch over and over.

I mean, granted, I have kids so I have already watched it 5 million times.

But, you know what they say: Everything is Awesome!
(inside joke for those who’ve seen it)

You know what they also say in The LEGO Movie?

Taco Tuesday

I love tacos. I really don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like tacos. Tacos are the best way to eat anything, since just about anything can become a taco:

Chicken? Taco.
Beef? Taco.
Fish? Taco.
Seaweed and tofu? …yes, it can be a taco too, but really? Seaweed and tofu tacos?

But there are differences in tacos that shape the person you are: soft tacos, street tacos and hard tacos.

While the proverb, “The clothes make the man” may be fine advice, the same should be said about tacos:

“The tortilla makes the taco.”

Because, let’s face it. There is a world of difference between chicken and shredded lettuce sitting in a hard shell, and chicken and slaw sitting in a fluffy street taco tortilla.

Tortillas will make your taco.

And you need to get ready for Taco Tuesday!


1. Make Your Own Classic Flour Tortillas

The best way to start any kitchen experimentation is to start with the basics! Flour tortillas are wonderful. Homemade, warm flour tortillas are divine. Especially with a little butter… you might want to make a big batch of these so you don’t run out before you get to the actual tacos!!

I will say I have made these before, and although they turned out amazing, they do take a bit of time. They also rise a bit, so roll the dough a little thinner than normal.


2. 5 Minute Flour Tortillas

For those of us who have problems with delayed gratification, but still want the satisfaction of homemade tortillas comes the next best thing: 5 minute tortillas!! Just think. You could be having fresh tacos almost immediately with this recipe. This is awesome!!


3. 3 Ingredient Plantain Tortillas

And now for something completely different: banana tortillas. Plantain bananas are not the most ubiquitous fruit, but it is definitely worth the trip to a store which is out of the way. I always fried plantains like french fries before, so this is a fun new way to use them! Besides, they are so packed full of vitamins, it would be a fantastic boost for your balanced diet, anyway!


4. How To Make Your Own Flavored Tortillas

If you really want to raise the standards for your tacos, you can coordinate flavors between your tacos and your tortillas. For instance, maybe a sun-dried tomato tortilla with fresh cilantro and lime chicken tacos? Or rosemary garlic tortillas for lamb tacos? Maybe even lemon zest tortillas for fish tacos??


5. Making Sundry Corn Tortillas

Now, some of us, admittedly, have trouble with flour. This is where corn tortillas come in. But corn tortillas have the irritating habit of breaking and crumbling in your hands (you are toasting corn tortillas first right?), which is never good eats. Perhaps, though, you could make your own? And maybe, perhaps, you could have some fun and create a fleet of spinach tortillas, or sweet potato tortillas??