Interested in Natural Ways to Fight Off Inflammation?

Happy Saturday!  I hope the rest of you are having the kind of beautiful day we are having in Portland!

I wanted to drop in to share a link to a fantastic blog and a guest post that I wrote about natural remedies for inflammation (for both acute city road - editedinflammation, such as from an injury or exercise, and chronic inflammation, as in the case of persistent tendonitis or other conditions).

The post is up over at the EcoGrrl blog here.  I invite you to check it out and while you’re there poke around.  EcoGrrl’s header will tell you that she values simplicity, discovery, sustainability, equity, and creativity – all great things, right?  It’s a virtual treasure trove of useful information about food, wellness, and whole living, plus there’s great photography, and a variety of other interesting reads, as well!

Why Wednesdays? – Why “Listen To Your Body” Is More Than Just a Platitude

A Note About This Feature:  Why Wednesdays is a Move Eat Create weekly feature determined to turn the mid-week doldrums upside down and celebrate things I love to do and blog about.  I have completed series on the topics of running, creativity, and food.  Now, I’m being a bit random and discussing whatever strikes me at the time!


Listen to your body.

Listen. .  .  . to your BODY.

photo credit: striatic via photopin cc

photo credit: striatic via photopin cc

I hear (i.e. read/see) this command often.  To be perfectly honest, I’ve been hearing it for years, but didn’t really pay much attention to it.  I used to think it was just a silly expression.  Something that felt good and wise to say – easy advice for all sorts of circumstances.  What did it mean, really??

Of all of the many things I have learned in the last couple of years, the value of this advice is one of the most powerful.

I tend to be a cerebrally-inclined person. Historically, I sit up residence in my head, sometimes to the detriment of my other parts.  I’m analytical.  I spend a lot of time pondering things.  I toss around ideas and apply solid logic when solving puzzles and problems.  With this natural inclination towards being a bit too intellectual, it’s easy for me to flat out ignore my body (the whole rest of me), despite the fact that it’s constantly talking to me.

It’s true.  Our bodies are chatty things.  I’ve become very aware of this since I started heeding the advice that I need to listen to it.  Something I’ve been working on actively is to use my brain to actually pay attention to what my body has to say and it’s been an incredibly insightful process.  Now that I’ve made wellness, nutrition, and physical activity part of my life, it’s become even more important.  As a runner, I need to recognize the difference between a niggle and an actual injury, between a desire to eat from boredom and a real hunger that needs to be tended to, or between simply feeling tired because it’s been a long day and feeling worn down because I’ve been pushing too hard.

photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc

photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc

I personally believe many of us function in our world in sort of a survival mode.  We’re often just trying to get by, get through, get over.  We rush from one place to the next, we down caffeine to wake us up; we take pills to lull us to sleep; we zone out with the television as a distraction, and so on.  In so many ways, it is the American way.  I am personally hugely susceptible to all of this and it takes a real conscious effort to slow down and be present in and aware of each moment, each task, and . . myself – my body.  It is a practice that I am constantly working on (to some success, I’m happy to say).

Here are some of the insights that I’ve had so far:

1)      What and when I eat has direct impacts on my mood and mental functioning. – Seriously, if I don’t sufficiently nourish my body, I’m a mess.  Cranky, scatterbrained, dizzy – it is not pretty.  I know not to push breakfast too late in the day and that if I’m going to be running around for a few hours, I need to carry a healthy snack with me.

2)      Sleep may be my nemesis, but it is important.  – I’m a bit of an insomniac and I used to think that this wasn’t a very big deal.  I now notice that when I have a particularly bad night of sleep, I have loads of ill effects – copious amounts of hunger, increased stress levels, random body aches.  Blech.

3)      My anxiety/stress and my body pains have a symbiotic relationship.  – As I’ve mentioned before, I do carry anxiety with me often.  I also have disruptive and persistent (albeit non-serious) physical issues, such as Raynaud’s Disorder, migraines and tendinitis in my hands/wrists.  It’s become strikingly clear that when one of these is elevated, the others are triggered, too.  It’s a good reminder of how interconnected all parts of us are.  It’s unbelievable how an increase in stress can immediately bring on my Raynaud’s and how working through serious pain in my hands can make my tension escalate.

4)      Doctors are not necessarily the experts, despite how much they try to act like they are. – Don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not anti-doctors.  They’re great.  Sometimes.  However, it’s become very apparent that they don’t always ask all the necessary questions, gather the pertinent information, and listen to what you have to say.  What YOU have to say – the one person who is pretty much guaranteed to be the ultimate expert with what is going in your body.  I’m working hard on being a better advocate for myself at medical appointments and not always taking an initial diagnosis or dismissal as the final word.

5)     My body actually knows (better than my brain) when I need to push and when I need to rest.  – For me, my default is to push.  I’m not much for rest and relaxation and when I first started running this was detrimental.  Like so many new runners, I over-trained, didn’t recover properly, and ended up with fatigued, weakened muscles and injury.  I have really learned to listen for signs that my body needs some rest – and I provide it (no matter how much my brain may protest).  For instance, when the niggle in my left knee becomes too loud, I need to address it.  When my periformis becomes super painful, I know I’m not spending enough time stretching and strengthening my hips and glutes.

This is really a very condensed list of lessons learned on this matter, but I hope it gives you some idea.  Listening to all the chatter my body puts out is still something I’m constantly reminding myself to do, but the pay-off so far has been invaluable.

I would love to hear how others do with this.  Are you a natural at it or do you struggle, too?  What have you learned along the way?  If you’re also a runner, do you feel that training has helped you tune into your body’s signals better?


Last Week’s Entry:   Why Libraries Are Worth Saving?

Why Wednesdays? – Why I Eat . . . Strictly For Myself #7

A Note About This Feature:  Why Wednesdays is a Move Eat Create weekly feature determined to turn the mid-week doldrums upside down and celebrate things I love to do and blog about.  Currently, the focus is on food, cooking, and eating.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent some time in my life, TOO much time in my life, doing things for other people and not for myself.  Let me be clear, I don’t mind doing a favor or helping someone out, but what I mean is that I’ve made decisions and took actions about MY OWN life because of what someone else said or did or asked or wanted and without the foremost regard for what I wanted or needed to do at the time.  Some of these things were pretty minor and irrelevant in the long run and others . . . not so much.  Regardless of how big or small they have been, the fact remains that I have made decisions about my life for the benefit of others, at least occasionally, at the sacrifice of my own well-being.

Banana Cupcakes 4

I probably will again in the future, too.  I’m not perfect and, at my core, I like to contribute to making others happy and content.  But, here’s the thing, I’ve sort of figured out that I like to make myself happy, too, and to top it off, that’s actually what I have the most control over.  Funny how that all works out.

So, what does this have to do with food?  Quite a lot, actually, as doing things for other people has often manifested in eating for or because of other people.  There are so many times when I have eaten things that I didn’t want or enjoy or have interest in, in some sort of attempt to: fit in, not be rude, get an emotional uplift, be defiant, be compliant, [fill in ridiculous reason here].  If you’re thinking you want an example or two to understand how this works, I’m happy to provide them:

I’ve eaten food I didn’t like or want because it was offered to me and I didn’t want to appear rude or ungrateful.

I’ve eaten food after I was way too full because I didn’t want to be wasteful when there are others who go without.

I’ve eaten food not out of hunger, but out of anger or pain when I’ve been upset (food is more comforting and safer at times than dealing with the person and problem at hand).

I’ve eaten food I couldn’t afford because I was trying to fit in with others who could afford it and encouraged me to join in.

raw cabbage

Like so many other things in life, our food choices can turn into so much more than hunger, nutrients, or enjoyment, and can become about something else entirely.  This is a problem.  It is a problem because all choices have outcomes and all of this eating for reasons outside of myself had way too many negative outcomes for me personally.

Sometimes I felt sick, stuffed, too full.  Other times I suffered undue stress, working to pay off credit cards because I’d spent money I didn’t have.  There were times when I felt bad emotionally about it afterwards – guilt, maybe even shame or embarrassment set in.  There were extra pounds gained and a dissatisfaction with my level of energy.  There was the knowledge that my health was being compromised – getting too much food, yet not enough of the vitamins and nutrients that I needed.

When I decided, almost two years ago, to make changes in the way I eat it was about more than weight or appearance.  It was about owning up to the fact that food had power over me in ways that it shouldn’t have and that other people had power of me in ways they shouldn’t have.  I didn’t want to eat out of anger or guilt or to please someone else.  I wanted to eat when I was hungry and interested in food.  I wanted to eat what I wanted, try new things, and say no to things I wasn’t interested in, regardless of social pressure of any kind.  I wanted to eat with pleasure and enjoyment and to provide nourishment to my body and mind.

For me.

On my terms.

I’m not perfect in my goals with this, but I am certainly much improved with them.  As a result, my relationship with food has totally changed.  It is a relationship that is built on more knowledge and respect for both myself and for food systems and production.  It is a relationship that is much healthier than it has ever been before and one that is more exciting, too.  It’s filled with possibilities and boundaries – possibilities of exploring new things (sometimes I try cooking new things even if I may be the only one in the house that likes it!) and boundaries that suit my best interests, tastes, and preferences (I say no, politely but without guilt, to food that doesn’t fit into my lifestyle).

So, maybe in this way I am selfish – but I’m okay with that.  When I look closely at the plethora of food issues our world faces (obesity, malnutrition, starvation, depletion of resources, food borne illnesses, food-related diseases) I think we could all likely be best served by being a bit more selfish in these areas.  I also think that making decisions about food driven by knowledge and a selfish desire to be mentally and physically happy and healthy isn’t such a bad idea.  In fact, I’d encourage just about anyone to practice a little selfishness in this regard.


Previous Entries in This Series:

#6 – Why I Eat . . . Local

#5 – Why I Eat . . . To Heal and To Fuel

#4 – Why I Eat . . . Food From My Own Kitchen

#3 – Why I Eat . . . Plants!

#2 – Why I Eat . . . With Reverence

#1 –  Why I Eat . . . Thoughtfully

Why Wednesdays? – Why I Run: Series Recap

A Note About This Feature:  Why Wednesdays is a Move Eat Create weekly feature determined to turn the mid-week doldrums upside down and celebrate things I love to do and blog about.  Currently, the focus is on running


In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a fan of this running thing.  For the last 8 weeks, I’ve shared with you some of the reasons why.  The reality is that I could go on week after week after week if I really wanted to.  Certainly, I will continue to blog about it regularly, but it seems right to wrap up the running segment of Why Wednesdays and move on next week.  Here are a few final thoughts.

I’d by lying if I said that every run I take is good.  Some are very, very not good, in fact.  Some runs feel like a chore and some feel never-ending.  Some feel rushed because of time constraints and others are frustrating because of injuries or limitations.

But the reality is, despite the difficulty of some particular outings, each and every run I complete combine to create a truly incredible experience and a necessary component of my life.  Like so many running converts, there was a time when I thought running was crazy.  It would surely be too hard, not worth it, impossible.  And now, if I go even two days in a row without a run, I itch for it.  My legs get antsy and my mind drifts to the feeling of traversing my city.

I’m not the fastest every time. I don’t always go long.  Some days I avoid hills.  But, I can absolutely say that I give it my all.  Whatever I have to give on any given day gets left on that pavement each and every time.  And, the wonderful thing is, I get so much back from it.

I get all of the things that I’ve talked about in this series: health, satisfaction, stress relief, fitness, mental clarity, alone time, a sense of community, adventure, entertainment, accomplishment.

I get contentment.

And, it’s the most amazing thing. 



Coming Up: Why Creativity Counts

Why Wednesdays? – Why I Run, Reason #4: For My Health, Silly!

A Note About This Feature:  Why Wednesdays is a Move Eat Create weekly feature determined to turn the mid-week doldrums upside down and celebrate things I love to do and blog about.  Currently, the focus is on running

I debated about, mulled over and tossed around the idea of whether or not I should include this reason in my Why Wednesdays series on running.  I mean, it seems so simple and so obvious, that maybe it wasn’t worth it.

Then I realized how silly that was.  Sure, saying that I run for my health is simple, but it’s also a fundamental and core concept that is too critical to exclude.

For a huge portion of my life thus far I saw my health as something that was outside of my control.  Basically, I was going along, with no real regard to my health, just waiting for the day when cancer would strike (I have many major ‘risk factors’ for breast cancer), an autoimmune disease would hit (it’s prevalent in the women on the paternal side of my family), or an accident would happen (I mean, the news says they happen CONSTANTLY; clearly it would be my turn soon enough).  But something changed for me in 2011.  I was 30, waist deep in self-reflection and moody thoughts about life, aging, and the universe.  And I latched on to one fundamental, key concept that has entirely changed my way of living:  my health was in my control.

Sure, things happen.  I can’t prevent every ailment and injury that may come my way, but I sure can ward off many (maybe even most) of them.  I have flooded my brain with information on health, wellness, and fitness since that revelation and the fact of the matter is that most ailments (yes, even cancer) are things we have a great deal of control over.

I want to be healthy.  I want to be sick less often, live a quality life for as long as I can, spend less on pharmaceuticals, and feel good on a day to day basis.  I do several things to accomplish these goals and running is a major part.

In addition to eating clean and healthy, strength training, and working on mental clarity and wellness, I run at least 4 days a week.  I’ve seen so many changes in my health since starting to run (not to mention the changes in my mental clarity, general energy levels, and so on).  The health benefits of running are plentiful.  I breathe better.  My blood pressure is fantastic (it wasn’t bad before, but it’s still shown a significant drop).  My body aches less.  I get sick way less often then I used to.  Also, while I know that there is no guarantee for future health, I am dramatically decreasing my odds of future heart problems, body breakdown, dementia and other illnesses.

So, declaring that I run for my overall health may be simple, but it’s certainly not inconsequential.


Previous Entries in This Series:

Why I Run, Reason #3:  Because I’m Able To

Why I Run, Reason #2:  Crows and Tortillas

Why I Run, Reason #1:  Stress Relief

Health Truths That I Once Thought Were Shams (Until I Actually Educated Myself)!

I’m pretty sure that most of us recognize that the world of health and nutrition is at times brimming with such an abundance of information, much of it contradictory, that it can be a dizzying, overwhelming mess.  It can be very difficult to wade through this information and sort out what really is valuable.  Which articles are objective?  Which data is well-researched?  Which studies were funded by greedy gigantic industries only interested in pushing forth information that supports their continued financial success – whether it’s in the public’s best interest or not?

Yes, that is how I really feel.

Over the last year and a half or so, I have delved into the world of health and nutrition information.  I have a very, very strong desire to pursue a career in nutrition and wellness, but just can’t quite figure out how to make that transition happen yet.  In the meantime, in lieu of a ‘formal’ education in this area, I have sought out an abundance of information regarding nutrition and I have spent a great deal of time dissecting the validity of the information I consume.

Before I actually made this effort to educate myself, I wrote off many commonly cited nutritional facts as big fat shams.

Mostly, I didn’t want to change my behaviors, so I rejected any information that told me I should do so.  You know that trick, right?  It’s sort of the adult equivalent of putting your hands over your ears and shouting “I can’t hear you!  I can’t hear you!”

Now that I’ve moved beyond that, I thought I’d share a few of the most significant nutritional truths that I once rejected.  These are some guidelines that I wholeheartedly believe in and follow on a daily basis.  If you want any more information or recommendations for further reading regarding these topics, just leave me a comment below.


Truth #1:  Eating breakfast really is important.

For years I rarely ate breakfast.  I would scoff at breakfast-advocates, saying “I’m just not hungry in the morning.”  While it was true that I didn’t usually feel hungry in the morning, I didn’t realize how much of an impact skipping breakfast had on the functioning of my mind and body.  Because I hadn’t experienced what it was like to be a breakfast eater, I didn’t understand how much I was forsaking.  For instance, I didn’t realize the amount of overeating that skipping breakfast led to later in the day, the sub-par mental functioning that I worked with for at least half of my day, or the way in which it just all around messed up my metabolism.  Once I started eating breakfast, whether I felt hungry or not, I began to notice incredible changes.  I have more energy, fewer unhealthy cravings throughout the day, better cognitive functioning, and overall I just feel better.

Truth #2: It is not wise to eat (or at least not eat much) within about 1.5 – 2 hours of going to bed.

Given that I shunned breakfast, it is likely no surprise that I ate the bulk of my food at night.  My meal planning was sporadic at best and I often found myself hungry and full of cravings in the late hours before bed.  Basically, I figured it didn’t matter what time of day I ate, because I was still going to consume the food at some point.  What I have learned, however, is that our bodies do some pretty amazing things while we sleep – and having a full stomach to contend with during our bedtime hours can cause some major disruptions to very important biological processes.  For instance, sleep is prime time for our bodies to create natural growth hormones.  These hormones aid in building and repairing muscles and work in a myriad of ways to keep us healthy.  The development of these hormones can be crucial to helping your body heal, grow, and recover from exercise, stress and other activity.  However, if your body is so full that most of its energy is going towards digesting food while you sleep, your body won’t have the energy to create these vital hormones.

Truth #3:  Protein does not have to come from animal products.  Many high quality and healthier proteins exist all around us.

I have recently become a vegetarian for a variety of reasons.  One thing I have learned in this process – and one of the most concerning truths I have learned about nutrition overall – is how damaging animal food products can be to our health.  The scientific links made between the consumption of animal proteins to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and loads of other serious ailments are astounding.  Further, the plethora of research to support these findings and the amount of effort made to shut down the dissemination of this research by powerful, influential agencies (i.e. cattle and dairy companies and organizations) is infuriating.  It interferes in the ability of the average person to make informed decisions about their own health and wellness.  This is a huge topic, deserving of much more attention than I will give in this post, but for more information, I highly recommend checking out The China Study.  It’s amazing.  In the meantime, consider the plethora of non-animal based protein dense foods that surround us (lentils, quinoa, spinach, beans, et cetera).  (By the way, did you realize that consumption of milk actually leads to osteoporosis/weak bones?!)

Truth #4: Carbohydrates are not an enemy.  Neither is fat.  In fact, there are no actual, real foods that are the enemy.  (By real food I refer to pure, natural food, not, you know, stuff like Oreos.  Oreos may, in fact, be the enemy.  Oreos – delicious as they are – are wily little devils.)

We are constantly bombarded with ‘diet plans’ that claim to be the right answer for achieving optimal weight and health.  Only they never actually are, are they?  Two of the most pervasive over the last couple of decades have been plans associated with low-carb consumption and low-fat intake.  These plans are extremely problematic.  Refined, processed carbs (again – not ‘real’ food) are undoubtedly detrimental to our health.  However, unprocessed carbohydrates are vital to our systems and do a great deal to increase overall health.  A great deal of research exists that shows how diets high in unrefined carbohydrates are some of the healthiest in the world.  Regarding the low-fat craze, fat consumption does need to be moderated – this is for sure; however, the problem lies in the way this fact has manifested in our culture. A massive industry has grown around the development of ‘low-fat’ food.  Processed, refined incredibly unhealthy and sometimes toxic foods fill supermarket shelves, and because they are ‘low-fat’, they are considered health foods!  A low-fat diet is a good thing, but a low-fat label does not automatically equal a healthy option.

Truth #5:  Sometimes organic really is worth paying for.

Organic food is expensive – I know.  I live on a budget that drives the majority of my decisions around purchases; however, I am willing to scrimp in some places in order to buy certain organic food items.  The high amount of pesticides and toxic chemicals on many of the foods around me is terrifying.  I’m just not going to be convinced that eating an apple treated with chemicals made to de-ice planes and kill insects is inconsequential to my health.  Period.

Truth #6:  Sleep matters.

I really dislike sleep.  Seriously.  I’m always so disappointed at the amount of productive hours that are lost in any given day due to sleep.  Despite this, I have come to understand and respect the value of it.  Getting enough sleep has health impacts, both immediate and long-term.  And I can honestly say that while I still get angry about having to do it, I easily notice a difference in my brain and body when I don’t get enough sleep.  

Truth #7:  Water matters, too.

Drink water.  Enough said.  This one is easy.  Being well-hydrated keeps the body running smoothly and no amount of liquid from soda or other such beverages can replace the value that several cups of water has on our systems.

Truth #8:  Weight essentially is about calories in, calories out.  Health, wellness and nutrition are not. 

I could write for days regarding my feelings about weight versus health.  I am a firm believer that health comes in a vast variety of sizes and shapes.  I also stand firm that someone’s weight or size has absolutely nothing to do with their value, moral fortitude, or intelligence.  I also believe that sometimes advocacy for acceptance of all sizes and shapes can get all mixed up, sometimes losing sight of what it does mean to be healthy.  It’s a very, very complicated issue.  Ultimately, if you want to lose weight, you must have a calorie deficit.  This is a simple case of math meets biology.  You’re not going to lose weight without this deficit.  However, calories and weight loss do not necessarily equal health.  The nutritional value of those calories make all the difference in the world and is a key reason why plenty of size 12 people are a million times more healthy than any given size 6 person.  Know the difference between these concepts and know how they can work together to help each individual reach their own healthy weight and size.  This is a critical concept.

Truth #9:   Food really can be addictive.  Further, our tastes and preferences have likely adapted to those foods, which also means they can (and will) continue to adapt if you change up what you eat (In other words, it is not true that you naturally really hate all vegetables and can only enjoy eating cheeseburgers and fries).

I grew up on fast food, candy, and chemical-filled pre-packaged fare.  Because of this, I was convinced that this was all I liked and other foods were just too far away from my natural preferred palette.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  The truth is that my palate adapted to that type of diet.  As I began to cut that food out of my diet and introduce other foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains, my palate changed.  I started to become more sensitive to the variety of flavors that exist naturally in food and I have never looked back.

These are some guidelines for wellness that I believe in based on what I have learned to be true from research, education, and personal experience.  They obviously do not cover every aspect of nutrition, but I believe them to be good starting points for a healthy life!




A Near Perfect Run (And a Training Update)

I had a near perfect run on Monday.  It was wonderful and it didn’t have anything to do with breaking a pace time (I’ve run faster) or a distance threshold (I’ve run farther).

To me, a near perfect (I don’t like to say perfect – because it implies it will never be better and that is a very sad, final thought, don’t you think?) run involves certain elements all aligning to create an overall feeling that can’t really be matched by any other activity that I’ve found.  The elements can change from one near perfect run to another, but the common denominator is the sense of peace and satisfaction that they produce.

This is the story of the near perfect run that occurred on July 16, 2012.          

I had completely psyched myself out for my run after work.  And I mean completely.  I am very good at doing this.  In fact, I have a keen ability to forget all progress I’ve made and any skill I’ve developed; instead I convince myself that I am totally inept and will fail at whatever I do.  It’s a “fun” little game I unwillingly play with myself.

As you may recall, I’ve registered for my first half-marathon (ahem – and my second – but we’ll talk about that later) and I’ve been training for it formally for a few weeks now.  I’ve been using a Runner’s World Smart Coach plan as a general guide and, as such, last week was a bit of an easy, scaled back week – which means that this week steps things up.

Now, by stepping things up, the plan isn’t asking me to do anything crazy.  But the act of knowing that after this ‘easy’ week, I will begin really starting to increase mileage – running longer distances and adding an extra day into my running routine – created just a tad bit of self-doubt and apprehension.  And by a tad bit, I may be minimizing somewhat.

So it was that all day Monday I was convinced that I wasn’t a runner at all.  Who was I kidding?  I wasn’t going to be able to do this.  Just wait – today it was all going to crumble to bits.  Today would be the day that I wouldn’t be able to run.  Just like that.  I wouldn’t be able to do it.  Yep.  That’s right. That is exactly what was going to happen.

I realize this is not logical.

Anxiety, my friends, is not logical.

But, what actually happened was this: I got home after work, put on my running clothes and shoes and headed out.

And . . . it was awesome.

The weather was great (okay – it could have been about 5 degrees cooler, but it was pretty nice).  My body felt good.  My breathing was rhythmic.  My legs were spry.  I passed by people biking, trimming their gardens, having a happy hour drink outside of restaurants and they smiled, friendly.  I saw a beautiful group of birds hanging out at Reed College.  Squirrels cheered me on as I passed by them.  Okay – maybe they didn’t literally cheer me on– but their little squirrel spirits sure seemed cheerful.

It was fantastic.

I did 5.2 easy, but quality, miles and made it home feeling like I could have gone another 2 at least.  I also had that feeling that only a good run can illicit in me – clarity of mind, freedom from anxiety, and confidence in myself.

That was a damn near perfect run.

Note:  So, I mentioned having registered already for my second half-marathon.  It’s true.  I did that.  My first is the PDX Half on October 7th and I was so excited about doing a winter half that I also registered for the Holiday Half in December.  Eek!