food, healthy living, popular culture

healthy living lessons from orange is the new black

Have you guys been watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix? Because if you haven’t you need to start. Like, yesterday.  Personally, I don’t know why it took me so long because I’m usually all about anything set in a prison and once I started I was hooked. I mean, I managed to completely binge-watch and finished all 13 episodes of the first season in about two days.

I know I’ve mentioned it before but my first gig after grad-school was the sole librarian at an all-male minimum security prison up here in Northeast Ohio and while obviously some of the things you see on the show are dramatized for the sake of plot (For instance, because they were involved in the same crime Chapman and Vaus would never be put in the same prison) other things are one hundred percent accurate. Like mother and daughter being in the same prison (in ours it was usually father or son or cousins or brothers, etc.) or inmate/employee relationships. I was hired because the person before me had allegedly had something going on with an inmate and like clockwork every six months another female coworker was being walked out for establishing a relationship with an inmate and then within the year of my leaving there were another two.

Oh, and like I told Bold Butter Baby, the chapel usually was the hot spot for illicit inmate rendezvouses. Our Chaplain caught inmates on more than one occasion. I also knew a Corrections Officer who treated inmates with the same swagger and power trip as Mendez. He even had the pornstache although his bravado eventually got him fired.

Trust me, people, I could tell you stories that would make you laugh (like the idiot that gave himself a tattoo with an ink pen and it got infected), make you cry (imagine trying to stop your girlfriend from giving your child up for adoption while you’re incarcerated) and some that would leave you horrified (like that time I broke my elbow and had it in a sling only I wasn’t allowed to wear the sling when I was around the prisoners because it could have been used to strangle me. True story.)

And that is just the tip of the ol’ iceburg. So, y’know, if any OINTB writers are reading this and looking for story line ideas for Season 2 my contact info is hanging out over there in the sidebar….

Just sayin’.

Of course, y’all know how much I love to find healthy living lessons from untraditional sources, so off we go!

If you’ve been reading this for awhile you know that I’m a big believer in breakfast. If you’re new to this blog, I’m a big believer in breakfast. Officer O’Neil is right, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I always make sure to start my day off right with a good breakfast. Maybe it’s overnight oats with some fruit and peanut butter or eggs with avocado and an English muffin. Always make sure it’s healthy (like, while breakfast is the most important meal of the day, donughts for breakfast isn’t doing anyone any favors) and that there is some form of protein with your breakfast as that’s what will keep you full until lunch. Actually, the protein rule goes with any meal or snack.

I love the character of Red so freaking much I not only want to go as her for Halloween but I named my new-to-me iPad Red in her honor (the fact that I bought it a red cover doesn’t hurt). Plus, actress Kate Mulgrew is married to Northeast Ohio politician Tim Hagan so what’s not to love about that?

Of course, while Red probably has an entirely different idea in mind when she talks about the magical properties of fowl, it does not distract from the fact that certain food do hold powers that should guide your meal choices. I’m talking those micronutrients like protein, healthy fats, vitamins, etc. Consider what Office O’Neil said about starting your engine right — food is fuel after all and you don’t want to fill your fancy car’s gasoline tank with sand, correct? You want to fill it with the good quality stuff that will keep it running at top performance.

The hardest part about changing your life isn’t adopting new eating healthy eating habits or finding time to work out or staying on plan. The hardest part is facing your reality. Facing who you used to be and trying to shed that old persona. I spent decades of my life hiding under over 100 pounds of excess weight and when it all came off it left me feeling vulnerable and alone. When you no longer have that mask, have that safety net, you are suddenly confronted with all those issues you had managed to silence for so long with food. It’s scary and heartbreaking and it takes a ridiculous amount of courage to meet them head on and really deal with them. Man, I’m still dealing with them. Work in progress here, baby, and proud of it.

As inmate Andy Dufresne once said in The Shawshank Redemption: Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. (Also, am I the only one who finds it weird that in both instances it’s the character named “Red” that is bringing the contraband in?) The road to a healthy lifestyle can get rocky and sometimes you’ll hit pot holes or need to take a detour and turn around, but always try to see the positive strides you are making. I only lost .2 pounds this week but last Friday I ran 7.5 miles. That kind of outweighs (pun intended) the results of the scale.  So keep hoping, baby. Even when it ends up that tomorrow is actually going to be beef and noodles night.

Finally, we have Taystee, an inmate I so would have loved to have had working in my library.

Let’s be honest, here: Sriracha is the new black.

Do you have any favorite quotes from Orange Is the New Black? I so wanted to figure out how to fit in “I threw my pie for you” just because it’s so fabulous.

Love from the new ashes,
Lady Lazarus

5 thoughts on “healthy living lessons from orange is the new black”

  1. Oh my gosh, you're right, I need to watch that show. I've been putting it off, but your quotations have pushed me over the edge. And yes, Sriracha is THE BEST.


  2. Honestly, the majority of the time it was pretty quiet and uneventful. But when it got crazy it got CRAZY.

    Like the whole thing with the missing screwdriver? I had a co-worker lose his KEYS and they shut the whole prison down while we searched for them. Plus they really did make alcohol in the prison as well. Some of our inmates ended up in the segregation unit drunk off their asses.


  3. Love, love, LOVE OITNB! So many rich characters to get to know over the season. The problem is, I marathon watched over like 3 days and now I have to wait until season 2. I may just re-watch this weekend to take in more of what I may have possibly missed. Sorry, not sorry.


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