Friday, April 29, 2011

The best medicine

Disclaimer- in my following post, I will be talking about people with physical discomforts, which they may be treating with medication. I am not qualified to speak on matters such as diabetes, cancer, MS, or any other chronic illness.

I'm taking a break from sharing my weight with you this week, in part for reasons any woman would understand. But I have been using that same reason as an excuse to eat sub optimally, and feel like crap for it, and that's what I want to talk about. I've been mostly paleo for about a month now, but cheated over Easter. My best friend brought over matzoh brittle. On Easter itself, my husband made pizza, because our nieces were visiting. And they brought pita chips. I ate all those things on Sunday. On Monday, I woke up with the runs. I want to note I *chose* to put all the foods in my mouth and do NOT blame the people who brought them around. No one can make you eat something.
Then, major PMS. I bought a pint of coconut milk ice cream and ate most of it. Yeast infection. And gassiness and bloating. Lots of bloating.
So here is what I know-
I have breathing if I consume dairy or peanuts.
Dairy and wheat give me the trots.
Too much sugar gives me yeast.
Logically, I must avoid these things as as much as possible, NOT eat them anyway then take albuterol, epinephrine, lactaid, Gas-x, Imodium and monistat to make up for it. I DO avoid the dairy and peanuts and I DO use an inhaler if I accidentally consume them, but for the other things, if I eat something I know I shouldn't I suffer the consequences, then think twice before eating it again.
I know, how un-American of me.
Here's the thing- for years before finally eliminating wheat, I told myself I did just fine on it. Then I give it up for a month, then I eat some, and I discover- no, I wasn't. I think many of us in first world countries are in that boat- we have NO IDEA what is affecting our bodies because we are used to being miserable, and/or used to popping a pill to counter act the things we shouldn't be eating. Sometimes it takes a few weeks to clue in. Even with people with no intolerance to real food- we ate so much artificial food products we've desensitised ourselves.
I would love to convince every one I know to take one month and eat ONLY real food- no dyes, no trans fats, no high fructose corn syrup. And I wish that an order of magnitude more for everyone popping antacids or anti-emetics on a regular basis, or for parents of a kid on ADHD meds. I know it's easier not to. Sometimes, some people find it easier to be miserable that make changes. But the benefits are worth it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's all good

When some we know is in pain, we all have a way of lifting them up, according to our beliefs. Thoughts, prayers, vibes, candle lighting, pouring out libations on the ground.
And they are all good. Done in love, they are all good.
Yet sometimes we seem to be afraid to express what our beliefs lead us to do, as if we're afraid we may offend someone. As if loving people could be bad. As if it should matter what form another's thinking of you takes. If I am in need, I hope you'll share with me the ways you're lifting me up. Whether it's thoughts, vibes, prayers to whoever or whatever, lighting a candle, scattering herbs,  or poring out libations, I would want to know, as the diversity of ways I'm being loved will lift me up.
(I do recognise that there are good and bad ways to pray for a person going through a rough time. Say a person has cancer. Telling them "I'm praying you'll find God in case you die"is BAD. Telling them you're praying for a miraculous healing is JUST NOT HELPFUL. Simply saying "I'm praying for you" is GOOD. If you live nearby, ""I'm praying for you and bringing dinner on Tuesday" is BEST.)

It's like the whole not wishing people a happy any holiday. Wishing another a good day when we're celebrating should never be fraught with worry. I remember a wonderful thing an atheist friend once told me; "I'm never offended if someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, Happy Easter, or any other religious holiday. As long as they're saying it with goodwill, I accept is as such and wish them the same. And then go on to have a good day."
Would that we could all accept others' goodwill this way.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Forging Identity

Yesterday, as Livi headed out with her suicide blond hair and hand crocheted devil tail pinned to her skull and crossbones skirt, Matthew commented, "She looks like a dork with her hair and her pseudo goth clothes."
I told him to be nice (of course) and then went on to explain that her hair, her style, and her insistence she be called Livi instead of Olivia are all age appropriate ways she's trying to forge an identity separate from that of her parents.
"So, is it lost on her that you used to be goth, you never go more than a few weeks without touching up your roots, and you hated the name you were given so much you had it legally changed?"
"That's an irony we just don't have to share with her."

And while I have your attention- on Easter, as Matthew and I drove home from church together, he said "You know what's weird? I was looking through our 2002 calendar and right now you look a few years younger than you did then." <3

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fitness Friday 131, 31 inch waist.

131 and waist 31 inches. I am down one pound and .25 inch! Pretty impressive with all the Easter candy making and baking. I'm going out to a brew pub woth my husband and nieces tonight...and I plan to stay paleo. Of course, being the DD helps there! I'll eat appetizers for my meal.
There's Easter weekend ahead of me...this could be challenging. My goal for next Friday is just to maintain. My fridge is full of greens so I plan to have salads for lunch all next week.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Some Easter treats that most can enjoy

I hope this blog post doesn't find you too late. I've just finished making me Easter treats...treats that are free of dairy, grains, peanuts, eggs, and because my best friend is Jewish, they are Kosher for Passover.


Chocolate Bunnies: You will need, 1/2 of a Trader Joe's pound plus bar in your favourite percentage (I use 72%) 1 TBL creamed coconut, bunny mold (I use Wilton's bunnies Whoopie Pie pan).

Melt the chocolate and coconut in a 2 cup or larger pyrex measuring cup, in a pan of barely simmering water. When melted, stir thoroughly and pour into the mold. Freeze for 20 minute then invert onto a clean dishtowel. Because the contracted in the freezer, they will slide right out. Yield :10 bunnies.

Coconut haystacks: You will need 3 cups flaked coconut ( I use Bob's Red Mill ) 1 Trader Joe's pound Plus Bar, and 3 TBL creamed coconut ( I use Let's Do Organic) and a medium cookie scoop.
 Melt the chocolate and coconut, then stir in the coconut. When completely cool, scoop out and place on parchment lined baking tray. Keep cool. Yields 30.

Almond Butter eggs. These are the least healthy of the bunch, as they actually have added sugar. But after all, it's a holiday!
You will need: 1 cup almond butter ( 1/2 a 16 oz jar; no surprise, I get mine at TJ's!) 1/4 cup creamed coconut, and  1 1/2 cup powdered sugar and about a pound of chocolate.
In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the mixing attachment, cream together the almond butter and coconut. Add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time- you may not need it all. Chill the dough at least an hour. Remove and shape  into eggs, rolling inside a spoon the size of the egg you want. Lay on a parchment lined tray, and freeze at least two hours. Melt the chocolate and working QUICKLY, coat each egg in a very thick coat of chocolate. If you make it too thin you'll need to leave your eggs in the freezer- the center is very creamy at room temperature. Yields a baker's dozen. If you have leftover melted chocolate, pour onto a flat food storage container to make a bar!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Top Reasons I knit while watching TV

I always knit or crochet while watching TV, and here are 5 of my top reasons. I invite my crafty sistren and brethren to add their favourites, though I think most of us will share the same number 1.

5 Smoking is icky, and I don't like to watch it. A character lights up, I can look down at my knitting

4 I'm not into sex scenes. While some of my fellow crafters may disagree with me each their own... I find the cable I'm making much more enjoyable to look at that naked strangers.

3 Hands being cut. freaks me out. beheading? Fine. Paper cut on the hand? Can't watch.

2 Hypodermic needles. I could never watch Fringe without my knitting.

1 And the number one reason I always, always knit while watching TV? Never a wasted movie. You know that feeling , when you come to the end of a movie (one you hopefully streamed instead of paying $8 a head to see) and say, "That's 2 hours of my life I can never get back"? If you're a yarn crafter, you never have to say that. We may have watched the same crappy movie, but while the non crafter has only watched a crappy movie, the crafter is looking down and saying, "At least I got two inches of knitting done".

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Parenting dangerously

My kids eat raw eggs.
In fact, from the time my kids could eat the ingredients in cookies, I let them eat raw dough. With eggs.
This is just one way I parent dangerously.
Food is a hot button issue, and  while I work assiduously to keep foods many consider standard out of our families diet, I also DO let them eat raw eggs. Unwashed berries they pick on walks.Dandelion greens from our yard. Ants.
With my oldest, I did the proper hippie mom thing when starting solids. I toasted organic brown rice in a cast iron skillet, ground it in a virgin grinder, and cooked it with my breast milk. He found it every bit as appetising as it sounds, and was soon eating from our plates.
My middle child's first solids came when we were at our then local produce mart, Cerbonne's, and she reached for a banana. They gave it to her, she ate it, and before the trip was over she had grabbed the similarly shaped jalapeno from a bin and scarfed that too. She loved it.
My youngest first solid food was ganache.

I let my kids climb trees, even though both my sons have broken arms in tree related instances (but only once, you'll note!) A few weeks ago Livi was in the tree in our front yard, when a woman who we had never seen before stopped her walk to cal up to her "You should get out of that tree. It's dangerous. You could fall and break something" Livi said, "I know, my brother broke his arm jumping from the tree two years ago". The woman gave me a disgusted look ( I presume for not making her get down) before moving on.
Oh, and unlike my husband, I DO let my kids hit each other with sticks (I try not to openly laugh at his belief that he can somehow stop them).

A few years ago, before the economy tanked, a great patch of greenbelt off the BPA trail was torn down to build some houses, which never got built. The pattern of hills has created a ravine where some unscrupulous people have started dumping larger trash. While out on a walk with the boys yesterday, they discovered a Little Tykes picnic table in that trash heap. They had a brilliant idea, pull it to the top of a hill, flip it upside down, and one would get on while the other pushed him down the hill. they entertained themselves quite a long time this way. With what they've done to the modern playground, they need to get their dangerous fun somewhere.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fitness Friday- Slow Paleo

Where I stand today: about 3 weeks into transitioning Paleo. 132 lbs, waist measurement : 31.25 inches

Once I started cutting things like grains out of my diet, I found it ridiculously easy not to eat them. I have only had grains twice in the last three weeks- barley in beef and barley soup at a church soup supper, and about 1/2 a bowl of popcorn yesterday (yesterday was all about stress eating and also included two sunbutter chocolate chunk cookies.) I've even been making my waffles with almond flour ( just mine, as no one else in  the family is giving up grains and might riot.)
Legumes are another matter, which is why I do have come leanings toward slow carb rather than Paleo. I have run across a few paleo folks who still eat beans, as long as they make them themselves from dry and soak and drain them before cooking.
When I tried doing this first time around, I found I got shaky and nauseous and was hungry all the time. Following the suggestion that I might not be eating enough, I let myself eat as much as I wanted during the transition. And you know what I found- after a couple weeks I was hungry for much less. I rarely snack anymore. I make better choices with the things I do eat. I know some primal leaning folks with consider this heresy, but I don't view this way of eating as an excuse to eat all the bacon and butter I want. It may work for some, but I'm a small woman with a not so great metabolism, so I STILL need to be prudent. I have even found a few times where I was not or barely hungry at mealtime and ate (or not!) accordingly. While I haven't seen  much fat burning boostage from this, there is a large body of evidence that intermittent fasting or calories restriction is a major factor in longevity (but that's another whole post). I'm going to eat a small, early supper tonight and not snack until brunch tomorrow.
 My current exercise: On alternate days I do either 20 minutes of cardio and 20 of strength training (with 2 10 lb weights) or 22 minutes of cardio with a resistance band.  I usually do 50 crunches both before and after my workouts. If it's nice I walk- and I can walk for hours. One thing I have read in several books is that fat burning is boosted by working out BEFORE breakfast- not an easy one for me. Even if I'm not really hungry when I get up, I am a creature of habit. It was hard enough switching from cereal for breakfast- not because I don't like eggs but because it was different. I have successfully put off eating til after my workout on two of my shorter workout days, and want to transition into making that the norm. I need all the boostage I can get.
That's all for this week- as I work on those last 5-10 pounds, I will try my best to consistently make my self accountable to you, dear readers!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bored Games

I have a confession to make.
While I'm sure most people would consider me a gamer, that's not entirely true. It would be more accurate to say I'm gamer friendly.
Just please, please don't ask me to play.
Doesn't seem to matter what it is. Monopoly, D&D, poker....I'd prefer not to play.
This is part and parcel of me not being a playful person at all. Taking the kids to the park? A book is coming along too.
I realise this makes a lesser parent, partner and human being. It may also beg the question of which is worse...turning down my family when they want me to game with them, or play resentfully and out of a sense of guilt? I do play the occasional game of Magic ( usually, it is mercifully short) and Star Trek Scene-it, but that's about it.
There was a time a few years ago, when Brian had taken the car to the mechanic and we had to wait for the call for me to drive him down to pick up the car. He decided we were going to play Monopoly. All of us, as a family, and we were damn well going to enjoy it. He quickly caught on to the fact that I never asked for my $200 when I passed go- my long time strategy for keeping games shorter. Unfortunately for me, this meant that the kids now knew about the $200. After three hours, Matthew decided sitting in the corner for the duration of the game (Those were the only options Brian was giving the kids. We would have quality family game time or else, dammit!) was preferable to being in it. The rest of us kept staring at the phone, willing it to ring. Finally, after 5 1/2 hours, the mechanic called. I was never so happy to hear the phone ring and let me tell you, Brian never called a mandatory game of Monopoly again.

Monday, April 04, 2011

The thing about all these ways of eating.

     Like many of us, I grew up on the Standard American Diet. I was 14 when I made my first foray into rebelling against that, by going vegetarian. Of course, I was a crappy vegetarian too-potato chips and Pepsi are free of animal products! I flitted on and off with the meat free life for years, but still ate pretty crappy food. I was young, with a good metabolism, and could "get away with it."
     Fast forward to 20. Newly married, living in a  new state, I sought out a doctor so I could keep up with my allergy med prescriptions. I went to a little old Korean man named Doctor Kim, who told me "You don't need medicine, you need to stop eating crap." I decided to give it a try, and damn, it was right. I was disappointed but I felt so much better I had to stick with eating real food. It was, still, pretty standard fare, with no real food left unturned.
     Fast forward to three years ago. I was the largest I had ever been- even taking into consideration pregnancies. I was in constant abdominal pain and my asthma had reached a point where my HCP wanted to put me on steroids. I was already fat and did not want to have to fight off steroid weight! Talking with my husband and best friend, we decided before I went the steroids and invasive IBS testing route, I should give up dairy. This made sense and 2 of my 3 kids were lactose intolerant. Within a week, I knew. I was not sick, I had a food allergy. And I was starting to lose weight.
    I wanted to keep losing. I started exercising, cut back my portions, and had the joy of that quick early weight loss. After about 2 years I plateaued hard, so I started reading. Everything I read conflicted. Eat more whole grains. All grains are bad. Eat what you want, just less. I soon came to a conclusion: Nobody has all the answers for anyone.
   Right now, I am exploring the Paleo lifestyle. It seems a natural fit for me, bringing together two of my favourite subjects: human evolution, and my own health and longevity. I first started exploring it before the partypalooza that is life in February- March in our family, because I knew I would take a hit with all the goodies. Of course, trying to embark an a grain free, sugar avoiding lifestyle right before all that celebrating was doomed to failure. But by the time Matthew's birthday party rolled around on March 26, I was done. I had a raging yeast infection, thrush, and my osteoarthritis was so bad I couldn't use my left hand. It was time.
   After two weeks, I can tell you, I feel much better without grains, and mostly dark chocolate for my treats.

     But don't worry, I won't turn into an evangelist. And I won't be giving up the option of birthday cake. I wouldn't go this route if I thought I couldn't allow myself that (Though I think I may ask for a pave for my birthday cake.) But I would never say this is thew only way for everyone. I've spent years eating, reading about food, and eating some more, and I could distill all the wisdom that applies to everyone into one sentence: Eat real food, and stop when you're full. Everything else, every has to figure out on their own