The Low-Carb Healthy Alternative to Restoring your iPhone when it falls in the water

Millet - a healthy grain You know those days when there is a domino effect of events that totally throws your day for a loop? I was having one of those days. I woke up an hour late. So late in fact, that when my eyes opened and zoomed in at the time, I realized I only had 13 minutes to make it to my running group. First domino.

I jumped out of bed, slipped on my running clothes and gear and darted out of the house. No time for coffee. No time for packing lunches. No time to think. I did miraculously make it to my run on time. By the time I was in my 3rd mile, I relaxed a bit and figured the rest of the day would go on normally. I was wrong. Upon my return home, I walked into my bedroom and my husband looked over and said to me, “Ryan threw up this morning.” Second Domino.

Ryan didn’t look sick so I thought maybe it was a fluke. My husband rushed off to court, unable to take my older son to school. Third Domino.

I tried to stay on schedule, calling out to Orly to remember to brush his teeth, asking Justin to finish his breakfast. But everyone was slower than usual. Suddenly it was exactly one minute after the time I absolutely have to leave the house to make sure my oldest son is not late to school and only 2 of the 3 were dressed and only 1 of the 3 lunches were packed. I left the baby in his pajamas, grabbed the one lunchbox and routed the three boys into their car seats. I figured I would drop off the older two, come back to dress the baby, finish the lunches, and take him a little later. Cue dominoes falling. I drop Orly off…late. I drop Justin off …without lunch. I come back home with Ryan. As we walk into the kitchen, he doesn’t look so good and proceeds to throw up all over himself and the floor. Oh God, its not a fluke. He is sick. I realize there will be no going to work today or taking Ryan to school. Oh well. I bathe my little munchkin, dress him in fresh clothes, brush his teeth, comb his hair and snuggle him on the couch with a blanket so he can watch Sesame Street as I clean up the vomit mess on the floor. I fill my mop bucket with water and clorox and begin cleaning away. Then, my phone rang. I don’t think much of it. I answered because I can multitask. As I spoke to my friend and simultaneously put the mop in the bucket to rinse it off, something happened. I must have made some movement with my head and shoulder – I don’t really know how it happened, but with no time to react my phone went flying straight into my bucket of water.


All dominoes down.

This was more than I could handle. This was my tipping point. My phone, my email, my text messages, my pictures, my videos. OH PLEASE NO! Can a human survive without a cell phone?   As quickly as it fell in, I snagged it out as I exclaimed “my phone fell in the water!” My friend was still on the phone. She yelled “put the phone in rice.” I hung up, took the phone out of its case, dried it as best as I could and headed towards my pantry. Problem is…I don’t eat rice. I looked through every shelf. I did not have rice in my kitchen. Seriously? Well they say, necessity is the mother of invention. So I kept scanning my shelves and I did have some Millet.

Millet is a whole grain which is uniquely high in nutrients. It is an alkaline food and therefore digests easily. It has high vitamin B content, magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium and zinc. It is also a healthy source of essential fats in the body. I buy it because it is low on the glycemic index and has lots of fiber. Since this is the only grain I had available at the moment, I decided to submerge my iPhone in it and hope for the best. I will spare you the hours of despair of not having access to my phone (the phone was completely dead the whole day), taking it out of the millet, putting it back in the millet, and so on. Instead I will tell you that after many hours, the phone did finally turn back on. The only inconvenience was that the millet grains are so small that they got stuck in some of the holes of my phone. I used the point of a paper clip to get them out. But otherwise, the millet worked.

Turned out to be a whacky day but on the bright side, I got to spend a lot of quality time with just my little one for a change.

As I slipped into bed that evening, grateful that my son was feeling better, that my phone was working again, and that tomorrow my world would go back to normal, it really struck me that I had not found any rice in my house. As a Cuban-American girl, I grew up eating white rice and beans every night for dinner. There was a time that I could not fathom a meal not containing rice as a side.  We are all creatures of habit. We tend to adopt staple foods, customs, and traditions in our lives and we stick to them. This is not a bad thing. It helps us do all the things we have to do without having to think so much. But just because we are accustomed to doing things one way, doesn’t mean its the only way. What we know is limited to what we are exposed to. However, when weight or illness becomes an issue, we are often forced to explore new foods to restore our health and our bodies. This can cause anxiety and stress.

When I changed my diet years ago, I felt this fear of the unknown. I didn’t even know where to begin to eat healthier and find alternatives to the foods I was comfortable with. I started trying new things and little by little I found a lot of “different” foods that I loved.  The transformation has been such that I found myself searching for a staple food in my pantry that, without me realizing it, is no longer a basic food in my home.

My mom often jokes that all the strange things she eats, she finds at my house. In reality, they are only strange to those who are not exposed to them. So here is my challenge for you this week. Think of some of the staple foods in your diet. Analyze these two questions:

  1. are these foods contributing to your health
  2. are there any alternative foods that you could eat as a substitute in order to promote a healthier lifestyle.

Please note, I’m not saying you should never eat rice. Rice has its place in our diets from time to time and depending on our exercise regimens, etc. But I do not think it should be one of the principal foods we eat on a daily basis.

If you don’t know what new food to try, go for Millet.

Now you know this healthy grain is not only a great alternative to eating rice, it is also a great alternative to absorbing the moisture of an iPhone when it falls in the water. Its a win-win!


The Gift of Grief

The day my father left his body, I, for the very last time, kissed his cheek, hugged what remained of him, held his hands, and walked out of the hospital room. I approached the parking lot, got into my same car, took the same route home, walked into the same house to see the same husband and the same kids. Everything in my life was the same, yet everything was completely different. My world as I knew it had changed.

It was the end of my dad’s life. It was end of his struggle with cancer. It was the end of him attending birthday parties or family functions. It was the end of his career. It was the end of long conversations. It was the end of surprise visits. I felt it was the end of so much. Death does that. It highlights the ends, causing sharp pain which cuts through your heart. Even though I felt this sharp, deep pain, I found myself comparing my situation to others’ and I didn’t feel that I deserved to be in pain. After all, things could be worse. Some of my friends lost their parents much earlier in life. Their parents had not been around to walk them down the aisle or see their grandchildren born. Some of my friends lost children, which is out of order. Our parents are supposed to leave before us, not the other way around.  Some friends have lost their spouses, young and old. Knowing this, I thought to myself “Who am I to complain?” So I didn’t.
I also wanted to believe that my father’s presence would remain with me. I had to believe that we were still connected and he was still here with me. I needed that. But by the same philosophy I thought if he was here with me, then I “should” not miss him. I should not grieve him because he has not left.
I suppressed my pain, thinking that was the right thing to do.
At the time, a friend of mine sent me Rob Bell’s podcast interview with David Kessler on grief.  It took me a while to muster the courage to hear it. I thought it would be too heavy for me. But eventually I did press play. That podcast did something for me that I will be eternally grateful for. It gave me the gift of grief.
By concealing my pain, what I was really trying to do was avoid suffering.  I did not want to be a victim of my loss. My father had taught me to focus on the positive, to use humor in all circumstances, and to be strong. If I grieved, I thought, I was letting him down. But Kessler said something that will forever stay with me. “Pain is inevitable, Suffering is optional.” I was merging the two and I did not have to. That changed everything. Pain is inevitable. I have permission to grieve. It doesn’t matter if my loss is more or less tragic than anyone else’s. It doesn’t need to be compared. It is my personal and unique loss and it sucks.
Kessler also helped me reconcile the internal conflict I was having about missing my father but wanting so desperately to feel his presence. “Its not about the grief, its about the change.” My relationship with my father had changed. A relationship, by the way, that I had for 35 years. A relationship that helped mold me and define me. I no longer had a relationship with my father, the person.  I had a relationship with my father, the soul. I had lost one of the most important senses we humans have, the sense of touch. I could see my dad in my mind or in videos. I could sniff his cologne and smell him. I could hear his voice. I could remember him.  But I could no longer touch him. I could not kiss his cheek, hug him or hold his hand. I am allowed to feel the pain of that loss.
The most beautiful realization I made, however, was not while I was listening to the podcast. The realization came later. When I gave myself permission to grieve, I found that I was still the same person as before. I was still positive. I still used humor. I was still strong. I often think of my dad, cry, and minutes later find myself laughing at something adorable my child did. I can miss him and feel his presence simultaneously.
I can grieve with grace.
I have also come to appreciate the cycle between ends and beginnings. The end of one thing is always the beginning of something else. A newly wed welcomes a life of companionship and romantic dinners, yet misses the simplicity of being single.  A new mother thanks God for her beautiful, bouncy, baby and yet sometimes mourns the time when she was only responsible for herself. As parents gloat with pride of the college their bright and independent son has been accepted to, they mourn their little boy who creeped into their beds in the middle of the night. Even happy beginnings come with sad ends. Although I reached the end of my human relationship with my father, it was the beginning of a new relationship. A relationship in which I carry him with me, everywhere I go. If we deny ourselves the joy of the beginning or the pain of the end, we are denying ourselves the act of fully living.
The gift of grief has allowed me to live fully, in the present moment, truly feeling the happy and the sad. I used to have a mantra whenever I felt a twinge of pain,  “I am strong. I do not feel sorry for myself. I am not a victim. I am blessed. I have a good attitude.”  I continue to reiterate these mantras but I add “I am also human…and I miss my dad.” That’s ok too.