Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Next Step.

I have started typing this first sentence too many times to count now. Nothing seemed adequate enough to encapsulate my feelings as I read through all of your comments and emails regarding my post on Monday. I am beyond - truly - blown away. In the past two years, no post has received as much feedback, and I do not feel like any post has ever connected me to you more than this one. I am so very honored and sincerely touched by the outpouring of advice, wisdom and uplifting words. 

Just in the past two days I have come to several realizations. 

One wonderful email I got said, "Do not feel that your choices are between abandoning your business completely, or neglecting yourself and your family. Things are rarely that black and white." I am not ready to stop working at this point in my life or career. I enjoy being Mrs. I enjoy being Mommy. And I enjoy being Sheridan French behind my clothing line. Those are all parts of my pie that do create my balance, even if some pieces are bigger than they should be right now. {Awesome analogy from one of the anonymous posters by the way - you guys need to read the comments below. There are some seriously wise women reading this blog! I feel so honored.} IF I stopped working, I would fill my time with something else - art classes, interior design, something or other - because that is just who I am. I am a do-er. I like being busy. I have invested so much in every sense of the word into my line that I do not want to pull the rip cord just yet, only to fill my time with another activity. I love design and creating products when the headaches that go along with it are minimal, so that is where I need to sort things out. Adjust xyz to minimize the headaches. 

Whether that means finding some interns, not pursuing stores with such fervor, or solely switching to one area like accessories, I do not yet know. I will see 2012's orders and collection through regardless so I have time to think about what is the best way forward. I will, of course, keep you all posted on how things are developing.

The other, perhaps much more important thing I realized after all of the feedback, personal stories and insights, is that I love connecting with people. I love talking to people. I love listening and understanding what another person is going through, helping one another out in this amazing journey called life, being the support or outlet others may need and vice versa. THAT is my passion. I want to help everybody. The world is so big, yet so very small, and we are all connected. I wish I had a better way to pursue connecting with people... looking at other blogs, there are several with 5000, 7000, 20,000+ followers... I am so teeny tiny still. I don't feel like this is the best way for me to have a voice, as little fish get so lost in the big ocean. 

I had a long talk with a dear friend of mine yesterday afternoon and we discussed women like Oprah and Martha Stewart - they have amazing power and opportunity to connect, yet, as much as I love them both, in all honesty, I don't feel like I can personally identify with either of them. Oprah is not married, does not have children {albeit cute pups}, and lives a life that probably no housewife {ok maybe like 4 do} that watches her has. Martha Stewart's marriage was not successful and she has a practically estranged daughter that just wrote a tell-all book about her. I certainly cannot identify with celebrities. {Well, maybe Jennifer Garner. She's a cutie cute.} Obviously I am not judging anyone's life path or choices - each to their own - but MY wish is that we had a young woman to look up to and learn from that was in a public position like that of Oprah or Miss Martha, not just an actress or celebrity, that had successfully balanced marriage, children and a career. I want to TALK to her. Learn from her. Listen to her. Where is she? I would love to fill those shoes, even though I'm still practically a toddler compared to those ladies and really have no idea what I'm doing...but maybe that's the point. Do any of us? Oprah seems to have all the answers, yet I still do not. Martha makes perfect cakes and pies and handmade Easter decorations, but when I try to dye eggs, 14 of them end up broken and on the floor and Squish has just eaten half a jar of glitter. I want a real {?} normal {?} mother and wife to be talking to me. 

How do I do that? How do I reach 100,000 people? 1 million people? Just keep dreaming? Am I officially crazy to reach for the stars? Someone give me Oprah's former producer's number so I can pitch this to her, and in the meantime know I am sending massive, enormous hugs and thank you's to each and every one of you for your words, your thoughts and your insights into your own personal lives and experiences. Perhaps I will stop with clothing design. Perhaps I will move on to other things. Perhaps in one year's time I will decide to take a year off and see where God takes me. There is always so very much to learn. Thank you for teaching me. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

To Work Or Not To Work?

Ladies, let’s pretend we are sitting one on one over a warm cup of tea right now. It is time for a heart to heart as I need a big dish of good advice, some personal experiences and the like.

Several times a year since I started my clothing line I have thought about stopping. Every time – up until now – it has been more of a fleeting thought in a moment of stress and after a day or a week, the desire to stop working fades. This time, it is different. I feel like I have reached the point of being truly overwhelmed, and I feel like I am missing out on being a mother by choosing to dedicate so much time to my business. I absolutely will not hire full-time help to take care of my children (yet if I keep having babies at this rate and end up with 5 or 6, that might be a different story ;), as that is not a choice I have any desire to make right now, yet I cannot hire someone to run my business for me at this point. My involvement will always be very, very high and labor and time intensive. So, why do I feel like I am drowning? Read on.

The overseas production process is a nightmare, deadlines are never met on time, delays ensue and delivery guarantees are broken. The process of weaving fabric is sheer chaos, dealing with monsoons and all sorts of other tropical climate natural disasters that create circumstances out of my control that, again, cause delays. I never thought I’d get so into the Weather Channel. Religious holidays are an extremely regular occurrence in Indonesia, leading to full weeks on end off of work, not just a day here and there as it typical Western practice.

On top of that, there is the sheer volume of marketing that has to be done to actually get retailers to pay attention to you. Give you a first glance. Emails, phone calls, markets, newsletters, follow up emails, phone calls and newsletters. Constant research. Constant contact. It’s always push push push. Then creating the look book, website, arranging the photo shoots for all of that in the first place, participating in the shoots. Soon there will be the entire website aspect I have to deal with. Taking and processing orders, shipping, returns, customer service, packing boxes, emails to respond to, not to mention this poor blog that so desperately needs my attention and sweet readers that reach out to me that I simply do not have the time to email back, which just breaks my heart. There are a million things and it is never ending, and all of this, I am pretty much doing on my own. I have been beyond fortunate to have a few very kind hearted people help me over the past two years and generously contribute their time and energy, yet 99% of the time, I am running things by myself. Just me.

Then couple all of that with the fact that my line is a small collection created by a young girl, a mother with no official training in fashion design but rather just degrees in business, trying to manage the company out of her house while raising two children, young children, with number three on the way to soon bring the numbers to three babies under three years old… I am not sure how much longer I can last. We are always told that if we want it all, we can have it all, yet I am not sure I do want it all anymore. Doing it all is, well, hard.

{This is where you start thinking of the great advice you're going to give me here in a bit…}

It has always been a dream of mine to be a successful clothing designer, among other things. I do feel to some extent I have already achieved a bit of that success, going from 7 stores in year one to 22 stores in year two, but I cannot dedicate the time or energy to the business that I typically would if I did not have children at this point in my life. As a result of pulling myself in what feels like thousands of different directions for my business, I sacrifice time I could give to so many other areas of my life, namely my family and myself.

I posted something like this last year and got several responses. Most actually said to keep working. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. That I would regret it and soon “just” be a mom with no career or identity of my own to speak of. I do understand that and fully appreciate that angle. I am not saying I disagree, BUT, I also have to consider that this dream of mine was a dream I had before I got married. Before I had babies. When I needed to fill my life with something…but now, something else has filled my life. Something more amazing and wonderful than anything any job could ever give me.

Often I resent the work I have to do because the truth of the matter is, I do not have as much time as I would like for my husband, for my children, for myself, for my other interests like painting, drawing, running, photography, just flat out spending time with my sweet girlfriends that I so very rarely get to see. I honestly cannot tell you the last time I sat down to just watch tv. Just read a magazine. Just go on a walk. Looking at for 4 minutes every morning is my “me” time. Every spare moment of my life is FULL trying to mark things off of my to do list. And I am exhausted.

The big snag for me is this though: I hate quitting. I just do not do that. I push myself ridiculously hard in every area of my life. I exercise until my heart is beating out of my chest and sweat is burning my eyes. I woke up in 5th grade at 4am to go study with my grandfather before school so I could make an A+ on my history test…and I graduated senior year with a 4.2 GPA from a very academically rigorous school thank you very much ;) But you see what I mean? I am PROUD that that is a personality trait of mine - that I do something until the best I can do is achieved - yet I have not done that with my line yet. I know it has tons of potential. I know I can keep growing it. I have not reached the level I will be satisfied with as far as business goes. I don’t want to just stop. It’s not in me. I don’t know HOW. But I feel like I have to…something’s gotta give.

I am trying to figure out some sort of balance, a word that has no good definition as I have come to realize. Do I just do clothing and stop trying to expand into other lines? Or do I just focus on purses, as I am very passionate about the songket fabric and the process and craftsmanship of it? Or does balance for me actually mean that I do indeed stop working right now, so that I can focus on what I feel are more important parts of my life? Will I feel like my Masters is going to waste? Perhaps I can use it to super-educate my children and sweet Squish will just know who Pavlov is by the time he’s 4. Will I miss my work once it’s gone? If I put it on the back burner now and want to pick it up in the future, will it be too late, and will I lose the desire to work full stop? Is this line of work even the best path for me? Should I quit worrying about myself so much and make what I personally feel is the best decision for my children? Is the grass always greener on the other side? I don’t know. I just don’t know what to do.

Has anyone struggled with this before? What did you ultimately decide? Did you regret stopping your work, or shutting down your business? Did you feel like you entered a world where it was truly no longer about you, and you did not have your own life or experiences? If so, was that ok? If you did not stop working and had the option to, do you wish you had? 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What are you thankful for?

I am thankful for...

my family
my health
my eyes to see my children with
my hands to touch and arms to hug with
my legs to walk and run and play and jump with
my heart to feel
my ability to learn and laugh and love
my intelligence
the roof over my head
the food in my stomach
the water in my bathtub
the shoes on my feet
the blankets on my bed
all of the blessings in my life
that have nothing to do with
insignificant material things
but instead are the most simple
that we so often take for granted

enjoy every bite of your feast today
{and remember to include others in your prayers}

happy thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gift Guide :: In My Dreams

I have learned a lot about myself through the course of this blog, one of those things being: I am a complete failure when it comes to creating practical gift guides. One look at Tiffany's ring selection and I'm a goner. {FYI, go to Jewelry, Rings, View All, then Sort By: Price High to Low, and girlfriend you are in for a TREAT! Hello 12-carat, D color, round brilliant diamond in platinum for $2 million, it's me, Sheridan, won't you be mine? Ok ok I'll settle for the 13-carat rectangular fancy yellow diamond illuminated by a small halo of round brilliant diamonds for a cool $675,000.} See what I mean? Ok I have to go look at the rings again...and while I do I'm imagining myself wearing that Oscar de la Renta gown...having a great conversation with my new imaginary crystal zebra clutch {she's my new bff} and eating some chocolate almond butter, of course...brb...The guide details are below!

So, I will do some good guides this year - reasonable, realistic ones - but for now I shall start with an "In My Dreams" Gift Guide because, as we all know, it sure is fun to dream.

As Lewis Carroll said - probably my FAVORITE quote of all time ever ever ever - 

"Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Most Wanted :: Red Pant Suit

So simple. So pretty. So un-maternity...I'm jealous.
Does she have the most perfect shade of brunette hair or what? 
Oh so chic. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pit Bulls :: The Nanny Dog

Rich or poor, American parents used to know exactly what pit bulls were famous for. Being great with kids.

Our sweet Pit Bull, Emmaline, is nothing short of amazing. When I decided to adopt her from the Humane Society, boy did I hear about what a terrible idea it was. From friends, from family, you name it, everyone had an opinion on her: How could I? I was about to have a child, and to bring such a vicious dog breed into our home? Was I crazy? Here she goes again, going against the grain. As always, I did my research, made my own decision, and adopted her anyway despite the negative feedback I was getting from every angle. I cannot ever imagine having another dog for the rest of my life. Below is a great, short article that gives a brief history of Pit Bulls and brings to attention that the breed has become very misunderstood and misrepresented. Please, please read in order to educate yourself on this wonderful dog, a breed that used to be known as the Nanny Dog. 

There are few things quite as obnoxious as rich parents. Be it a $3000 stroller or Louis Vuitton diaper bag, the well off don't want their little angels to be seen with anything average middle class rug rats might have, let alone a child who might be, gasp, POOR! So is it now, so ever has it been in America. 


In America, one dog breed historically became known as the dog for people who are afraid of dogs. One dog breed achieved such a rock solid reputation with children that for 150 years it was known as America's "Nanny Dog." One dog breed became so trusted that despite the fact that no Kennel Club or Association recognized it, despite the fact that it could be found on the poorest farms and bleakest city neighborhoods with kids who didn't know where their next meal was coming from, the super-wealthy acquired them in droves because they were simply the safest, most tolerant breed to have around their progeny.

Rich, poor, and everything in between, until recently, Americans agreed that there were only a CERTAIN TYPE of people who owned a Pit Bull...


America's Nanny Dog is the victim of a smear campaign that has turned common sense upside-down and robbed us of our historical memory. The dogs that we trusted with our children's lives are now deemed too vicious to live among us. The dogs that in two World Wars were the symbol of the United States military itself are now ordered off its bases.* The Pit Bulls haven't changed at all. Only the owners have.
By Y.W. Grossman, June 2, 2011

*FYI: Sgt. Stubby, a Pit Bull, was the first decorated American war dog. He served in 17 battles during WWI and was given rank in the United States Armed Forces. Sgt. Stubby was the inspiration for the U.S. Military K-9 Corps. 

 Our darling Emmaline.

Emmaline loved being next to my stomach when I was pregnant with Squish, and once he was born she would hardly let him out of her site. She is the exact same way with Munchkin now.

The truth of the matter is this: any animals can be dangerous. Dogs can be dangerous. Big dogs can be more dangerous. Big dogs owned by bad people are SUPER DANGEROUS. Period. It is not the dog - it is the human. When I was speaking with the Humane Society about Emmaline, {her name was actually Prayer when I adopted her}, they said something that really stuck with me. Pit Bulls were known as Nanny Dogs because they can be trained to do anything to the max. Families trained them to LOVE to the max. But they can also be trained to FIGHT to the max... Until death. These days they are bred for "gameness," a quality akin to bravery, which, unfortunately, makes them the best for fighting. I won't get overly graphic because the stories are heart-breaking and beyond disgusting, but in my research, I came across Pit Bulls that had ammonia poured in their eyes or in their wounds to instill anger and aggression, or some with four broken legs still trying to fight, because they were simply obeying their owners and doing what they were trained to do. 

I don't know if any of you watch the Dog Whisperer, but Cesar Millan used to take his Pit Bull Big Daddy everywhere he went. Daddy died in 2010. He helped Cesar train whatever dog was in question. As he says, "Aggression is not a breed issue. IT IS A HUMAN ISSUE." Search both National Geographic and YouTube for wonderful videos of Cesar Millan rehabilitating aggressively trained Pit Bulls.

The loyalty of one Pit lover at a time, one day at a time, can change the minds of many and erase the myth that they are inherently vicious. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Paleo Pancakes

I love breakfast food. If I was told that I could only eat one "type" of food for the rest of my life, I would select typical morning fare. Eggs Benedict, waffles dripping with butter, pancakes slathered in maple syrup...the problem is that none of those are Paleo friendly. 

Until now. 

Let me re-introduce you to Elana's Pantry. My Healthier Halloween Candy post was the first time I mentioned Miss Elana, and ever since I discovered her site I can't help but pour myself into her recipes. A while back I tried a Paleo pancake recipe but it fell flat. It was applesauce based I believe, and I felt like I was eating cardboard sprinkled with blueberries. Hello trash bin. Elana's Silver Dollar Pancakes are another story entirely! I love them. Squish loves them. They are a great, protein-packed breakfast, and they're EASY to whip up! 

3 large eggs
1 T water
1 T vanilla extract
2 T local honey*
1 1/2 c blanched almond flour
1/4 t celtic sea salt
1/4 t baking soda**
coconut oil, for cooking***

*Elana calls for agave which I will not use. See my post HERE for why!
**I have used baking powder here instead with great results.
***Again, Elana calls for grape seed but I don't keep that on hand regularly, and our coconut oil spray from Whole Foods works great. 

Use medium to medium low heat, and do not make them larger than 3" in diameter. That is the trick! Flip when little bubbles form, and add more oil as needed.
This is a great recipe to cook with the kids! 

Almost ready...


Happy cooking! Let me know how they turn out. Do you have any healthy grain-free breakfast recipes?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

End of Year Tag Sale! 25% OFF FINAL STOCK!

I have literally been meaning to post these pieces since the last week in October, but then market got the best of me, I remembered I was pregnant and needed a break, and started focusing on chocolate almond butter. So, forgive me, but also get excited about 25% off the very last remaining 2011 items in the country that I have here in my personal inventory - LESS THAN TWENTY PIECES!!! Jump on it!

Here's what I got for ya {one of each size}:

Isabel Tunic in Tusk {flax tunic with a beautiful grey binding} - S $295 $220
Petra in A La Mode - XS $295 $220 SOLD
Petra in Gypsy {please note this item has more of a red tint than the orange shown in the image below, just as gorgeous} - XS $295 $220 SOLD
Petra in Lavender Ice - XS $295 $220 SOLD

Neve in Sherbet - 2 $348 $260
Claire in Free Spirit - 4 $298 $220 SOLD
Georgina in Hot Lips - 0 $398 $298 SOLD

Anik Shorts in Brown Tribal - 2 $150 $110

Also, a friend of mine has a few items left over from a trunk show she did this summer:
Claire in Free Spirit - 4, 12 $298 $220
Georgina in Sugared Emerald - 8 $398 $298 SOLD
Georgina in Cinnamon - 6, 8, 10 $398 $298
Neve in Cosmo - 8 $348 $260

EMAIL with the items you are interested in, including your payment info {I will only accept MC, V and Amex, no checks} and shipping/billing addresses. S&H will be a flat rate of $9.99. First come first serve. Tunics are ample in the bust, whereas these Neve styles are smaller in the bust. Dresses are mini-dresses and can also be worn over jeans or pants as tunics {looks ah-mazing!} ALL SALES FINAL. FYI I will not look at comments on here as the posting time noted is different from my time zone so the only way I will be able to judge who claimed which item first is via my email time records. THANK YOU AND HAPPY SHOPPING!

Monday, November 14, 2011

SWOOOOOOOOOOOON x eleventy billion

Image courtesy of Furbish Studio

This my dear friends is my ideal interior design look. A whole bunch of mishmash in contrasting yet complimentary colors and patters bringing in traditional styles at the same time to create one uberchic, eclectic and unexpected look. 

I found the image at the online boutique of Furbish Studio, my latest love. The brick and mortar store is in Raleigh, and I absolutely MUST visit someday. I just ordered two custom dog beds in chartreuse ikat with orange piping and I can't wait until they arrive! I also got this pillow for Munchkin's big girl room. Start sending the right message at an early age, right? Right. I am majorly swooning over the leopard one above, which is also available in green, but I haven't bought it just yet. Currently at the top of my Christmas wish list! {Who am I kidding when I tell Biz I don't want anything for Christmas. I roll my eyes at myself.}

Head over to Furbish's online store, hide your credit cards {you're in for it if you have memorized your credit card number} and prepare to do some drooling.  I'm also trying to convince Jamie, the genius behind Furbish, to carry my line in the future! It would be peeeeerrrrrrrfect I tell you. Perfect. Jamie, holla when you're ready! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How I Wore It :: Searching for Sonny + IHOP

Last night Biz and I went to the LoneStar Film Festival debut of Searching For Sonny, written and directed by a dear friend of mine from high school, Andrew Disney. It was amazing {Minka Kelly is in it!} Mark my words, Andrew is going to be the next Quentin Tarantino, and I am so proud of him! 

I went for comfy since we would be sitting in theater seats for a while, that and I broke my toe late last week, so flats were a must. {I tried heels earlier in the day for a baby shower and it was a bad idea.} The perfect excuse to wear my new Jeffrey Campbell loafers from Biz for Christmas...this Christmas, to be exact, and yes they will be wrapped and under the tree, but why waste two good months of use?! My sentiments exactly. They are my latest obsession and have just the right amount of studs: covered solid. 

Jacket - Etro :: Shirt - Theory :: Leggings - So Low Maternity, which bought at Harrod's last summer so not sure if they are available stateside :: Bracelets - Hermes {2}, Kate Spade bangle, wooden beaded from Bali, gold cuff from my sweet mother-in-law :: Loafers - Jeffrey Campbell

Biz and I ended up going to IHOP late night after the film before we headed home to the sleeping babes, and it was the perfect ending to such a fun night of seeing old friends. Funnily enough, the last time I went to IHOP was actually with Andrew at 3am way back when I was home for college one year. Does anything beat a late night IHOP run? Not much :))) Good times. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Fell For A Boy Who Will...

Biz and I met four years ago today. I woke up to the most special note from him this morning {without so much as a reminder from me!} Yep. He's a keeper. Happy Day We Met Anniversary sweetheart. I love you to the moon and back. {Whenever I say that to him, he says, "I love you to Pluto and back." *sigh} 

5 Minutes

If I had 5 Minutes this week to do anything I wanted, I would be right up there on that rooftop deck in Portofino, lounging around in a brand new bikini with no baby weight left to speak of enjoying a perfectly warm breeze dancing off the ocean. Won't you join me?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Healing Power of Lard

Here I go getting all scienc-ey again. You know you love it ;) My brother sent me this article from Barefoot Fitness last week and it is fabulous. Will this finally convince people to stop using chemical-laden foods like Pam, Egg Beaters and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter because they're "low fat and better for your cholesterol"? Probably not...but I'm going to keep trying! Come on guys - spend the 4 minutes it will take to read this. TRUST ME.

If you've paid much attention to nutrition in the past few years, you'll know that the saturated-fat-is-evil-eat-more-wonderbread-food-pyramid lipid hypothesis {click for explanation} has been pretty solidly disproven. Yes, there will always be a few diehards clinging to what the USDA taught them in grade school, but not too many people are still convinced that cholesterol and saturated fat will steal your lunch money and say mean things to your mom. 

One of my favorite examples of this is a food that has been maligned for decades: Lard. 

Lard is the fat, both rendered and unrendered, from pigs. For centuries it was {and still is} a stable ingredient in the cooking of people from a vast array of cultures, none of whom regularly had toddlers with type 2 diabetes.

Lard is used in much the same way as butter and has been experiencing a recent surge in popularity, particularly with high end restaurants and the Paleo community, which in some areas {Europe, mostly} is actually producing a supply shortage. 

But why has this product been so disparaged in the past? The very word conjures images of people and activities that are anything but healthy. 

A strong factor in the original reason for the replacement of lard with trans fat laden shortening products like Crisco is that the real thing was heavily rationed during World War II and a replacement was needed. Once it was realized that the replacement was cheaper to product and sell for higher profit margins, the incentives for convincing the public that it was good for them began springing up. 

This coincided shortly with {although didn't produce} the beginnings of the lipid hypothesis. Soon, Americans began replacing animal fats in their diet with hydrogenated vegetable oils.

The main reason is lard's saturated fat content. Even with the fallacy that hydrogenated oils are anything but poison well past, lard is easily dismissed as being too high in saturated fat and inferior to oils like the champion of heart health: olive oil.

The thing is that lard, as well as just about any other animal fat, isn't much different from olive oil when it comes to its nutritional profile. 

Here's a fantastic explanation of why this is, from the blog of Mary Dan Eades: {the italicized bit below is all science but please don't skip! comparison of lard composition to that of breast milk. read read!}

"Now let's compare lard to that darling of the disciples of the Mediterranean diet: olive oil. Olive oil contains 71% oleic acid, that heart-healthy, mono saturated fat that we're supposed to get more of. Lard contains 44% oleic acid, which is more than sesame oil (41%), and double or nearly so the amount in corn oil (28%), walnut oil (28%) and flaxseed oil (21%), more than double the amount of cottonseed oil (19%) and sunflower oil (19%), and nearly triple that of grape seed oil (15%) and safflower oil (13%). The oleic acid content of lard also exceeds that in beef fallow (43%), butterfat (29%), and human butterfat (i.e. the fat of breast milk at 35%).

Lard also contains a fair amount (14%) of the 18-carbon saturated fat, stearic acid, which has been shown in clinical testing to lower cholesterol. Important, of course, only if that's actually a valid cardiovascular health parameter when it's all said and done, which is looking more and more doubtful with each passing day. Certainly there are many who still think so. Consumers spend an annual $14.8 billion on statins in an effort to lower cholesterol - a sad commentary, when stearic acid is a whole lot cheaper and safer. {DAD!}

Like olive oil, lard contains 10% of the omega-6 fatty acid linoleum acid, again, roughly the same as human butterfat (breast milk) at 9%.

Lard contains 2% myristic acid, a 14-carbon saturated fat that has been shown to have important immune enhancing properties. Human butterfat contains about 8% myristic acid, as a booster for the newly minted and incompetent infant immune system. Other animal milk fats also contain a fair amount. By comparison, with the exception of cottonseed oil (1%), and the tropical oils, coconut oil (18%) and palm kernel oil (16%) vegetable oils have zero.

The big bugaboo with lard, then, must come from the last component of its composition: palmitic acid, a 16-carbon saturated fatty acid that is believed by some to be Beelzebub, Barlow and the Bermuda Triangle all rolled into one. Lard contains 26% of the stuff and olive oil only 13%. Aha! There it is. The smoking gun! That must be what makes lard so bad and olive oil so good!

There's one fly in that explanatory ointment, however: human butterfat contains 25% palmitic acid, just a silly 1% different from lard. Are we to believe that nature would have designed a food for human infants that contained too much?

So let's now compare lard's basic fatty acid composition to the real gold standard, the butterfat of human breast milk and see how it stacks up.

Breast Milk :: Saturated 48% - Monounsaturated 35% - Polyunsaturated 10%
Lard :: Saturated 42% - Monounsaturated 44% - Polyunsaturated 10%

Note: the numbers don't add up to 100% because of rounding and other small constituents not listed in the fats and oils of common edible foods table. That said, even if all the unreported 7% of the composition of breast milk were monounsaturated fat and all unreported 4% of last were saturated fat, the composition of lard would still be less saturated and contain more monounsaturates than human breast milk.

Now, tell me again why lard is bad for our health!"

A less science-ey, yet highly apt illustration of the same concept comes from the book Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes:

"The observation that monounsaturated fats both lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL also came with an ironic twist: the principal fat in red meat, eggs and bacon is not saturated fat, but the very same monounsaturated fat as in olive oil. The implications are almost impossible to believe after three decades of public-health recommendations suggesting that any red meat consumed should at least be lean, with any excess fat removed. 

Consider a porterhouse steak with a quarter-inch layer of fat. After broiling, this stake will reduce to almost equal parts of fat and protein. Fifty-one percent of the fat is monounsaturated, of which 90% is oleic acid. Saturated fat constitutes 45% of the total fat, but a third of that is stearic acid, which will increase HDL cholesterol while having no effect on LDL. The remaining 4% of the fat is polyunsaturated, which lowers LDL cholesterol but has no meaningful effect on HDL. In sum, perhaps as much as 70% of the fat content of a porterhouse steak will improve the relative levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol, compared with what they would be if carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes and pasta were consumed. The remaining 30% will raise LDL cholesterol but will also raise HDL cholesterol and will have an insignificant effect, if any, on the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL. All of this suggests that eating a porterhouse steak in lieu of bread or potatoes will actually reduce heart-disease risk, although virtually no nutritionalist will say so publicly. The same is true for lard and bacon."

Remember to keep that quote handy next time someone tries to guilt trip you about your impending coronary disaster because you're enjoying a grilled ribeye with veggies.

The best place to find quality lard is likely from your local butcher. With any animal fat product you need to be careful about quality because fat repository for a wide array of toxins like heavy metals, pesticides and antibiotic residues. Play it safe by requesting organic, naturally produced lard. 

Don't buy this kind.

If you opt to purchase it in the grocery store, make sure you know where it's coming from and avoid the containers of it that you'll find sitting on the shelf alongside things like Crisco. Industrially produced lard goes through heavy processing and is bleached and hydrogenated, destroying much of its nutritional value. {Apparently Mother Linda's is a top notch organic brand}

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How I Wore It :: Black Tie and Pregnant - Round 2!

So I guess my How I Wore It posts are going to be featuring a lot of maternity wear until next spring ;)

We had a black tie event this past weekend and with my new crazy blonde hair I wanted to do something different for my outfit. I mean, I always try to do something different, but I just wasn't even feeling like I wanted to wear a gown. I decided to go the actual black-tie route...with some rhinestones and hot pink thrown in, of course. 

Blazer - Zara :: Tuxedo Shirt - J.Crew :: Bow Tie - J.Crew :: Black Pants - Gap :: Shoes - Prada :: Clutch - Prada

I mean I don't even think I look like the same person with blonde hair!! Confession: It's already back to brown. I went to Target {my hair stylist is going to kill me when she reads this} and did a box dye this weekend. I just had to and couldn't wait for the whole process of low lights and more low lights and slowly getting it back to brown. I make rash decisions ;) Story of my life!! But after watching videos on YouTube for about 30 minutes of how to dye blonde hair brown, I felt like an expert. Obviously people on YouTube know everything.

Our special shoes for the evening. Mine, Prada, his, Stubbs & Wootton

Biz might be a bit cranky when he sees I put this photo up of him. {even though I got full 110% cooperation while taking this picture and he was totally aware it was even being taken, obviously} I just LOVE his tux jacket and pocket square - both Etro. I mean, plum velvet - hello. I die every time he wears it. And he's just so darn handsome that I like to throw in a photo of him every once in a while :)))


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