Monthly Archives: January 2013

A Dripping Faucet

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Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and in no way am I saying this is what you have to do to improve your health. This is my story and the steps I took on my own road to health.

dripping faucetJust like a dipping facet will cost you hundreds of dollars before you realize it if it’s not fixed, so my health was slowly ebbing away without me realizing it was a serious problem. I started 2012 with a desire to lose my baby weight (after all, the Princess was going to turn three!) and exercise more. That was what had worked before pregnancy and I was confident that it would work again. I tried walking more, doing exercise videos, changing my diet, and even attempting to track my food through sparkpeople.com as a substitute for Weight Watchers which I could no longer afford–all without any visible success. In fact, some days when I worked out that took all the energy I had for the day! I would overdo it and end up not able to get off the couch for the rest of the day. I felt discouraged as it seemed I was gaining weight even with all of my efforts and I was quite depressed about my energy levels. My Princess was a very energetic toddler and she wanted to be up and doing things and I just couldn’t!

Around April I had my yearly checkup and it was a real eye opener. I found out I had gained 20 pounds in a few months. This was surprising as I hadn’t been overindulging or pigging out on sweets. My midwife’s suggestions included doing blood work and of course the Pill. I wasn’t sure how the blood work would really help (it might tell us WHERE the problem was, but not WHY the problem was) and of course I still had no desire to start on the Pill. I figured it was close enough to a year since I stopped nursing so I went to my chiropractor and asked her for help. She suggested that I try her machine that (in an oversimplified way) is an electronic acupuncture machine. It is hooked up to a computer and gives feedback on what is happening in your body.

My first treatment found that I wasn’t breathing (deeply—oxygen levels in my blood were low), my B vitamins were nonexistent, and that my hormones were unbalanced. After trying to bump up my B vitamins and still feeling no increase in energy I went back for an adjustment and voiced my concerns about possibly being sensitive to wheat. My chiropractor used Applied Kinesiology (AK) to test a piece of bread. She said that I was extremely sensitive to wheat!

Now I had my answer, although it was not one that I wanted!

Photo courtesy of flickr.com through Randy son of Robert

Read Part One here!
You can find Part Two here!
Part Three is here!

Why I Let My Three Year Old Tell Me If She’s Going To Take A Nap

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A strong-willed child only smiles when SHE wants to!

A strong-willed child only smiles when SHE wants to!

We interrupt our usual details about food to bring you a post on a topic that interests almost everyone…naps!

I am the mother of a strong-willed child who happens to be a toddler. The toddler years have to be some of the most exciting, and frustrating years…toddlers can listen and follow through, and they get so excited about the smallest things like a trip to the grocery store! However, toddlers also realize that they have a mind of their own and act on it frequently.

Have you heard your parents say, “Pick your battles!” Well, that is something that I have had a crash course on with my dear Princess ever since she was born. We’ve had battles about food, sleep, potty training, clothing STAYING ON, and about so many things in her sweet young life.

We’ve pretty much established our rules about food, the potty training…well this was not a battle that I was going to fight. She was 80 percent potty trained in one week and then she just stopped. Nothing would motivate her not even M & M’s made a dent in this child’s strong will. She absolutely refused to sit on the potty. So I just stopped—stopped nagging, bribing, and pestering. It made for a significantly more peaceful household. I have to keep reminding myself that the $35 plus spent each month on diapers and wipes is worth it. Her perfectionism got in the way so she stopped trying. Nothing could be said that would convince her that sometimes we mess up!

Aren’t you just dying to hear the saga of the nap battles? I insisted that she go to sleep for a nap because by 4:00 pm she was almost impossible to deal with. A toddler without a nap equals running around in circles screaming piercingly in the backyard. My insistence was exhausting! Over Christmas when we were both home we let her skip a nap and put her to bed at 6:30 pm. After a few days of that she obviously needed a nap so her daddy lay down with her and instant sleep was the

What the Princess still does when you wash her hair!

What the Princess still does when you wash her hair!

result. That night she got to stay up later and do shadows on the wall of the house. She was so excited. The process repeated itself a couple of times when finally, I just decided to ask her. Do you want to take a nap and stay up to play outside after dark or do you want to stay up now and go to bed early?

Amazingly, she completely understood and now almost daily she is choosing a nap. No more fights about lying down and staying quiet! No fights at night either and I was amazed at what a simple question could do for one of my least favorite jobs…insisting that a strong-willed toddler do what is best for her health. Now if I could only figure out how to get her to like baths or keeping shoes on when it’s cold outside…I guess I will just have to “choose my battles!”

My Goal For Year 2011 And Beyond

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New Year's Resolutions postcards from 1915

New Year’s Resolutions postcards from 1915

New Year’s Resolutions have a long history. As far back as Babylon, the Babylonians would make promises to their gods that they would pay their debts and return borrowed objects in the following year. The Romans would pray to their god Janus (whom January is named after) for forgiveness. Janus was a god who had two faces—one that looked forward and one that looked backward. Source

My goal was related to one of the more popular New Year’s Resolutions—something to do with food! Simplified, it was to reduce the use of and purchase of processed foods. Rather vague right? Well, when I found out that I was going part-time with the good possibility of staying home with the princess in the near future I started researching and researching to see what the options were for me to make it work financially. One of the most popular ways at that time was couponing. I jumped right in and boy was it addicting and fun!

My mom had occasionally used coupons when I was growing up, but we never used them consistently. I had the preconceived notion that coupons were only for new products that companies wanted to promote. It never occurred to me that the best savings were there for the taking when you combined a coupon with a sale! It also never occurred to me that there was a pattern to sales and to save the most money I should stock up with enough of an item to last me until it went on sale again. I loved shopping at Publix, but thought that I couldn’t afford it since every time I walked in there I spent (on a minimum) $70! Well I learned couponing well enough to make a dent in my food budget, but I also learned some bad habits.

Coupons and sales are easy to find for highly processed stuff like pasta, pasta sauce, delightful frozen waffles, and many other things that only occasionally resemble real food! I got caught up in buying those things because I could get them cheap or free after coupons and it was delightful to be able to afford some “treats” that we had never been able to afford before even when I was working full-time.

However, I knew those highly colorful “treats” weren’t healthy hence my New Year’s goal. I started out with making my own bread. Easy enough since I regularly had done it before and I had a handy dandy bread machine! Next, (with a longing look at my wonderful and colorful boxes of frozen waffles in the freezer) I gave up buying frozen waffles. We had pancakes or French toast for several months and then I found a deal on a waffle maker at Amazon.com! Homemade waffles were much more tasty and healthy.

Pickles were next thanks to an abundance of both cucumbers and zucchini in our garden. Thanks to my kitchen aid mixer with one of the attachments it was doable, but more importantly so yummy! It was a bit of a learning curve (picture cucumber juice on the floor, toddler running around, and trying to figure out how to hold the bowl to catch the cucumbers, keep the toddler away from the mess, and put the cucumbers through the machine with only two hands!)

Did you know that many varieties of jelly/jam in the supermarket have high fructose corn syrup in them or just regular corn syrup? Strawberry jam was one of the first things I got started on since strawberry season in Florida usually begins in January. I got a little carried away with making strawberry jam because that was almost as easy as buying it in the store. I made no cook freezer jam and was delighted to remove another source of high fructose corn syrup from my pantry.

I also stopped buying salad dressings whenever they were BOGO at Publix. In order to replace that void I found a simple ranch dressing mix and whenever the occasion called for it I mixed some of that up. It is amazing compared to the bottled stuff and I know exactly what’s in it. I also made a creamy poppy seed sweet and sour dressing that I had a recipe for. It had been sitting around for years because I always had several bottles of salad dressing in the fridge needing to be used up. It was also delicious!

It was near the end of the year (or maybe even into 2012 as I continued my goal), that I discovered that Hershey’s syrup contained high fructose corn syrup! Major dilemma! What do you do without chocolate syrup? Make it of course! I used this recipe from Annie’s Eats and I couldn’t believe how easy it was. My favorite part as I sampled some of it was the fact that it tasted SO. MUCH. BETTER. than Hershey’s ever had!

Crazy Girl!

Crazy Girl!

I could go on and on! I couldn’t come up with a new goal for 2012 so I decided to continue to make my own stuff from scratch in order to improve on taste or just to avoid unsavory ingredients. Ice cream (one of my husband’s favorite made from scratch things!), ketchup, BBQ sauce, as well as taco seasoning mix, etc. Some of the other things I attempted in 2011 were cleaning products (haven’t found any that work well on our lime deposits!), laundry soap (another day!), and personal care products like lip balm and body butter. I am so thankful that I listened to the Lord’s direction about pursuing less processed ingredients in 2011 because it was a pivotal point in keeping me from going completely insane during all the changes that were going to occur in 2012!

A Princess Is Born

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the pacifierHave you ever taken a beloved toy away from a child? Or encouraged them to give up their favorite pacifier? Well food is one of my well-loved toys—it’s something I like to play with, plan, and organize. Mothers are always saying not to play with your food, but it can be a pleasurable pastime or hobby! Therefore, the first three months of pregnancy were horrible for me. I couldn’t eat anything and I discovered for myself what a misnomer “morning” sickness is as my nausea and other symptoms did not contain themselves to one section of the 24 hour day. Towards the end of the first 3 months I called my mom in tears because I was so hungry, but I was petrified that whatever I ate would come right back up. Being the wise and wonderful mother that she is, she suggested pretzels and although I only had stale ones available at that moment I tried them and they stayed down. On the weekend I ventured to cook a meal of baked chicken breast, canned organic green beans, and basmati rice and to this day I remember how absolutely amazing that meal tasted.

The next 9 months were unremarkable food wise. I had few cravings (although cocoa crispies cereal with strawberries on them were a favorite breakfast for a while) and no more nausea. The rest of the pregnancy was characterized by stress. I didn’t used to think of stress and food at the same time, but I have learned they are related! I worked full-time throughout my pregnancy and we also decided that it would be a wonderful time to buy a house and move in before the baby was born. We started looking in January and didn’t move into until a week before my due date. By April we were prepared to move—-a look in our living room revealed boxes stacked from floor to ceiling! At the same time my best friend and sister was engaged and she asked me to be the matron of honor so there were wedding plans in there somewhere. Finding a dress that would fit me when I was nine months pregnant along with fielding threats of not to go into labor before the wedding was finished were more items on my plate.

a princess is born
Finally, on August 5th, I went into the hospital to be induced. They don’t allow you to eat anything after midnight on these occasions, but again I had butterflies in my stomach plus and I wasn’t in the least hungry. The Princess was born by 3 pm that afternoon and I had my long-awaited meal soon after. I don’t remember particularly what it was, but I was hungry!

After that I didn’t cook for quite some time!! My husband cooked for me, my mom cooked for me, and some wonderful ladies in the church also cooked for me. The next couple of months flew by and before I knew it, it was time to go back to work again. Those first 8 months of the Princess’ life are a bit of a blur. I don’t remember having time to cook and plan meals let alone eat them! Princess was a wonderful baby, slept well at night, grew, and loved interacting with people.

Meanwhile, everything was wacky. I had cravings like I had never experienced before which were mostly for sugar and carbohydrates. I was tired all the time and my PMS symptoms were off the charts. My midwife and chiropractor encouraged me that these symptoms were related to hormones could quite possibly continue up to a year after I discontinued nursing. In other words, just sit tight and wait it out! I always planned on nursing the first year at a minimum so this wasn’t particularly encouraging news. My midwife suggested birth control, but that was something that I wasn’t ever willing to try. So meanwhile, I just plodded along trying to make the best of things and not succeeding particularly well.

In 2011 for the first time in my life I decided to make a New Year’s Goal. Not a resolution because I wanted to make certain I would not fail and just one goal to try to keep me focused. I also decided not to make it very detailed so I would be able to report some progress no matter what happened!

    You can read Part One here

First image courtesy of Rachel Hofton at flickr.com

The Beginning of My Relationship with Food

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shockImagine that you are a waitress and you walk up to one of your customers to take their order. They say to you, “I am allergic to gluten, dairy, oats, peanut butter, and meat. Can you help me figure out what I can eat on your menu?” For most people that would blow their mind! All of those items figure highly on the Standard American Diet (SAD) and are recommended by the USDA for a balanced daily diet!

I found out a few months ago that I was unable to digest all of those things for now. I have something akin to a leaky gut which means I might be able to eat some foods again sometime, but for now I am discovering the joys of a gluten free, vegan diet, without oats or peanut butter. This blog is my story of some of the steps I took to discover my allergies and we’ll also discover together what in the world people with multiple food allergies/intolerances eat!

I have always had a good relationship with food. I have never been a picky eater and would try most anything. I always thought that I enjoyed vegetables and ate a good amount of them. However, when I entered my teen years I developed some junk food habits that were not even remotely healthy. We lived right next door to not one but two convenience stores and frozen soda, candy bars, ice cream, and the like were extremely available. This was the beginning of some bad habits that were hard to break down the road.

Fast forward to my community college time and I realized that I needed to do something different. I embarked on a low carbohydrate diet with my mom and sister and it was an exciting journey. We all lost weight, but the diet was so complicated and different from the way we were used to eating that we soon lost steam and were not able to follow it properly. One of the main reasons was that we liked bread so much!

Right after we started falling off the low carbohydrate bandwagon I got a new job and met my future husband. He asked me out in November, by February we were engaged, and at the end of June we were married! I had perpetual butterflies in my stomach, plus the stress of planning a wedding and I really can’t remember what I ate during that exciting time. I was able to keep some of the good habits I learned from the low carbohydrate diet including little to no sugar.

Of course once we were married all the diet stuff went out the window. My hubby wasn’t a terribly healthy eater and joining him with food a lot of the time seemed like the easiest course that first year. Right around our first anniversary I started to feel uncomfortable and look around for the next answer which ended up being Weight Watchers. My sister had just gotten started and since we are best buddies and do a lot of stuff together of course I joined her!

beach pic 2008I loved Weight Watchers because I love plans and checking stuff off. I was thrilled that if I rode my bike before I left for work in the morning then I would likely to be able to have a sugary treat (usually ice cream!) when I got home. What I didn’t like about Weight Watchers was at that time they encouraged you to eat a lot of processed foods. In spite of that, I did really well on Weight Watchers for about six months and I could see my target weight goal in the near distance when another life event surprised me: I was pregnant with my first baby!

first image courtesy of fab4chiky via flickr.com