Saturday, April 20

My Life is a Basket of Bread - Living on Restricted Diets

Well, it isn't exactly. My life is certainly not a bowl of cherries though. That would be healthy and we aren't quite there yet. So, I was making some beef stew this morning in the crock pot and started this line of thought about the food in our home and our diets. Making the stew, gluten free of course.

moms of children living with restricted diets
Beef Stew Cooking - about 1/2 way done. It looks better in person.
Hamilton Beach 8-Qt. Slowcooker (Google Affiliate Ad)
Yes, Hey has to be gluten free and Mir has to be diary free and technically egg white free. We aren't real strict on the egg white free diet for Mir because it was based on an allergy test of her blood. The doctor told us on a scale of 1-4 her allergy to egg whites was less than 1. He suggested we not let her have recipes heavy with egg whites, like omelets, quiche, scrambles eggs, you get the idea. So she is exposed to eggs, but usually not to much. Her egg exposure is usually minimum. We have had a harder time adjusting to her dairy free diet than her sister's gluten free diet. At the age of  5 when we had her tested and evaluated she had a very established diet, very heavy on the dairy. Peanut butter and dairy were her primary sources of protein since she won't eat any beans, nuts or meat. Well, except for chicken nuggets and hot dogs, but we only let her eat those about once per week, unless we are having a hate grocery shopping and lazy cooking kind of week. Some of her more healthy favorite foods were yogurt, cheese sticks and things sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Seems that milk is in many of her favorite foods. We have adjusted, but have to tweak a few things here and there since NASA doesn't always think about it enough. If we have it in the house and it isn't blatantly thought of as having milk, he may let her have it. Since Hey has been gluten free since age 3 (now almost 8)  he has gotten much better, but he is still learning with Mir.

I guess my husband isn't alone. Dairy free for other people is more of a challenge than you would think. For example, at church yesterday they let her eat chocolate Oreo cookies. Last night and this morning, she was complaining her tummy hurt. Well, when I asked what she ate yesterday she told me about the cookies. We have let her eat the yellow Oreos, but definitely not the chocolate. Mir had it marked on her name tag that she must be dairy free. She said one of the teenage helpers read the ingredients and said there wasn't any dairy in them. Well, clearly people do not associate milk with chocolate, although I am pretty sure they say milk on the package. So we talked about the fact that most of the time when an ingredient on packaged or junk food is chocolate that it usually means milk chocolate, not cocoa which is what we get in dairy free chocolate bars from Sprouts.

Some people may ask, "Why have it in the house, if your husband and children have a hard time with their diets?" Well, unfortunately I am addicted to wheat, love Eggs and dairy. I need the yogurt for yeast imbalance. Yes, I know I can take pro biotic supplements. I have to give Mir a pro biotic powder daily. However, I have learned garlic and yogurt work much better for me. I use the supplements too. Sad to say, but I know my yeast problems are due to my wheat and sugar diet. I am trying, really.  I am addicted and I know I have mentioned this before. I need rehab to break the addiction. Through rehab I could train my body to crave a more Paleo type diet, processed sugar and wheat free. If I can just detox from the processed sugar and wheat, I think the cravings would stop. Maybe that is unrealistic, but I know it would be my best chance. Bypass surgery would be useless on me because I know I would probably still make myself sick to eat the foods I crave. Heck I know that my body reacts to certain foods, especially when I eat out. You would think the horrible stomach discomfort and the need to run to the bathroom after 30 minutes of ingesting the poison would be enough to change my ways. Nope, I still eat it. That is a serious addiction issue.  I bet 80% of my health issues would resolve themselves with a back to fresh, basic, unprocessed food LIFESTYLE. Yes, not a diet, a new lifestyle. Then my house will have to be cleansed of my trigger food for a few days when I return from rehab. Of course, my children and husband being with me on this new lifestyle would be an added bonus, but I think if my body no longer craved it I would be okay after the first week or so of being home.

I can sit in a house with a bag of M&Ms and only consume a few at a time, once a day. Most of the time it takes us, the three family members who can eat it, 5 days to finish a 9 ounce or larger bag of candy. Well, at least 27 days out of the month. I do sometimes have a binge issue 1-3 days out of the month. I am learning my trigger foods (and some of my husband's too). We call yellow Oreos, the ones Mir can eat, crack. I want to meet someone on a typical American diet who can eat only 1 of them once a day. I swear they have a drug in them, hence why we call them crack. I laugh at the resealable packages. Those Oreos don't stand a chance of going stale. They don't last more than 3 days in our house. They are an evil food. Gluttony is a sin. If a food causes me to overindulge, it is evil, and I have sinned. Yep, it is my responsibility. It is now known that food companies purposely flavor foods to be more desirable, or simply put, addictive.

“He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.”Proverbs 5:23

Anywho, we are trying to get processed and toxic food out of the house. It is a gradual process. Unfortunately, Mir is a concern. She looses weight whenever I try and remove a major staple of her diet. The things like crackers, cereal, Pop Tarts and breads. We finally weaned her off Pop Tarts while Grandma was here this winter, but I screwed up. I had a $1.00 off coupon from Fry's AND a $1.00 manufacturers coupon. I went to Fry's with Mir, she asked and I bought. I know I enabled her. Cutting out and keeping those coupons was my first error. She asked me if I had a coupon because she saw they were on sale. I am a weak Mom when it comes to feeding this child. Plus, my husband and I love how convenient they are and they do taste good. They were super cheap, like 85 cents a box after sale and coupons. I have decided though, once those three boxes are gone, no more. There is only half of 1 box left. I went grocery shopping last night, without the children, and didn't buy any. So, I have to stop cutting out coupons for processed foods AND not grocery shop with my children.

If I buy healthier alternatives, eventually Mir will at least try them. She rarely likes them, but who can blame her. The alternative foods usually do have a different look, flavor or have an odd texture. The worst is that the good alternatives are super expensive. We try.

We are trying to detox our diets the best we can and as cost effectively as possible. We now have a garden. I will only buy organic apples. I try to be sure to buy organic items that the girls consume on a regular basis. We get grass fed beef. I buy our boneless chicken breast  from Zaycon Foods. It is supposed to be fresher and less processed than regular grocery store chicken breast. I only get cage free eggs. I buy only Hebrew National Hot Dogs and the nitrate free lunch meats, like Hormel. I buy organic broths in the cartons. I have cut in half our use of canned products.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

It is hard to eliminate all the allergen foods in our home. Hey, our gluten free girl, who can't have bananas or cucumbers either, really enjoys being able to eat dairy foods like gluten free pizza. She loves my cheesy chicken casserole. Mir, our dairy free, who shouldn't have egg whites, loves bread. NASA and I love our cheeses and breads. Hence, why our home supply of food isn't as restrictive as we need, but it is the way we want it for now. Now if NASA could just be more careful and remember which child is which, it would be very helpful. However, each girl is getting better as they get older.

Groceries this week & pantry on the road to recovery! 
Hey is the most reliable at turning down foods with wheat. She will be 8 next month and has been gluten free since age 3. She tested allergic, but does not have celiac disease. Mir is 6 years old and has only been dairy free for less than 2 years. Eventually they will be able to self regulate their diets. Hey and Mir are learning that their tummy troubles and sore bottoms are related directly to what they eat. Being so young, hopefully they choose not to create such horrible discomfort for themselves. I hope they don't grow up to have addiction issues.

Do you have a child with a special or restricted diet? What changes have you made? What do you find is the most helpful resource for special diets?

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Saturday, April 6

I'm in a Funk! Ya think...

In this case I am going with Etymology #2 as defined by Wictionary.

funk (countable and uncountable; plural funks)
1.(countable) mental depression
2.(uncountable) A state of fear or panic, especially cowardly

Just haven't felt like doing much. Poor NASA is so tolerant, my kids too. It is starting to pile up around here. This happens every so often. Sometimes more frequently than others. My biggest challenge this time is the chaos of the clothes and laundry. Why does the state of our laundry reflect my moods?

Anywho, I have until April 15th to get the cobwebs out of my motivation and push through. Why April 15th, other than it being tax day (already filed)? It is the day we have some cleaning people coming to Spring clean. I am excited and apprehensive all at the same time. I can't wait to have the place scrubbed floor to ceiling. Not that it hasn't been clean. I say we keep it superficially clean. All the ordinary stuff is washed and scrubbed on a relatively consistent basis, but not the deep clean. We don't wipe off baseboards or get to walls or windows very often, like sometimes never. The thing is that I have to get the laundry under control to really get the upstairs to benefit from this Spring cleaning.

At least upstairs isn't as bad as it was before.

What it looked like one year ago in 2012.
Darn, I should have taken after pictures. It did look better for 11 months. Especially since the boxes are gone. Now that I look at the actual pictures again from last year. It isn't as different as I would like it to be this year. Those darn clothes are back to haunt me. Right now there are 3 hampers full of clothes, 2 laundry baskets and a dryer full of clean clothes. The washer has a load of towels in it waiting to dry. Obviously they will need washed again. Then there are 2 storage containers of summer and winter clothes. This time of year where we have to transition from winter to summer clothes does not help at all. Clearly this time of year is a real stumbling block for me when it comes to laundry. How interesting that my Hoarders post was almost exactly 1 year ago, uncanny.

Of course my laundry issue is just a symptom. I have a long list of things I haven't done. My blogs are so neglected. Well, the funk lifted last year and I got back on track, so here is looking forward to the funk ending soon! YEAH! Last year the funk ended with a big huge kerplunk. I got so ambitious I started a new blog, RU Ready to Craft, a new facebook page, started Pinterest and got more connected on Twitter. This year when it lifts I will be sure to just pick up where I left off instead of starting anything new. Well, actually I am working on a new homeschool project, but that is different, right. Anywho, off to read or do something other than what I need to do. 

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Sunday, January 6

My Regrets Are Not Few

If you ever asked me, "What are you thinking?" and I answered, "nothing", I was lying. I am always thinking about something. I know it is why I have a hard time falling asleep. When my oldest daughter, Hey, told me at age 4 that she couldn't shut off her brain, I sympathized. I know exactly how that feels. However, I couldn't relate to what the heck would keep her brain buzzing late into the night. What does a 3 year old think about that can keep them awake?

I guess that is the price one pays for having a busy analytical mind. Many times I think we struggle in our relationship because we are very much alike. I suspect that like me, she reviews her day, thinks about how she could have done things differently and what the next day could hold.

My 7 1/2 years old Hey.
We both are stubborn and willful.  My mother says I was a better behaved little girl, but I think that was from fear of my father. My children don't have that threat in their minds. Other than her explosiveness, I see many of Hey's behavior and think that is how I felt when I was young. I remember the hate I felt for my parents. If left unchecked, I know Hey would become as much of a procrastinator and perfectionist as I am today. One motto we have now in our home: "Only God is perfect." That motto has served my children well.

There are so many things to think about. I spend way to much time second guessing the things that I say or do. I purposely try and stay away from anything that I did before my marriage. The choices I made as a teenager were reckless and stupid. It is a wonder I am alive today, not even considering my congenital heart defect. I say, "Thank you God I got married when I was 23 years old." Otherwise my list of regrets might have been longer. Many times I wish there weren't other people involved in those experiences or character building events. I created way to much drama in my teen years.

I think it all started in 7th grade when I cleaned out a friends locker since she was out sick. I knew the combination to her locker and was going to be able to get her things to her. I found a notebook of correspondence between her and another friend. They had written to each other as if it were a diary. 1st mistake, I read it. 2nd mistake, I talked about it with, who I thought, was a trusted friend in our social circle. The trusted friend turned out to be a social piranha. She used the incident to create my demise in the social community of 7th grade. I was no longer part of the in crowd. In fact, nasty gossip started being spread about me. What was ironic was that the owner of the locker had forgiven me and was over it.

My poor choices only got worse as I started 8th grade and all my friends had changed. I was an honor roll student every quarter in 7th grade since it was a point of competition in my old social circle. In 8th grade I didn't care. My new group of friends didn't care either. We spent most of our time figuring out how to party like our older high school siblings.

1990 picture young couple
Myself, 22 years old, with NASA before marriage.
I do know that my parents were smart in taking me out of that public school system and sending me to a private high school. I had to start over with new school friends and that made a big difference.

So why does this matter now? Well, I am the mother of two beautiful girls. As I said, my oldest, Hey, reminds me of myself in some ways. I realize she is only 7 1/2 years old, but all our interactions and her learning are cumulative. She is only 5 years away from when my world radically changed and my poor choices had residual effects. I don't want my daughters to have the emotional baggage I brought into my marriage.

I wonder, is there anything my Mom could have done to help? Is there some experience or conversation that would have helped me make better choices starting at the age of 13? What ground work do I need to do now that will keep my daughter from making poor choices? I spend a great deal of time examining my role in her life as her mother. I know I am over critical of my parenting, but I can't help it.  I have started to tell her how much I think about how I am her mother and what I could do better. I tell her when I am wrong or have made a mistake.

Wow, after reading this several times to edit it I realize what I need to change. It is to much about me! I need to change my focus. It needs to be all about God. I have to show my daughter how the Lord directs my life now. 

I believe I was on the path to where I am today. I just think that between the ages of 13 to 22, I took a huge detour. I believe if my faith was firmly grounded in God's Word much younger many of my regrets would not have occurred. Once I did start listening to the Lord He did miracles in my life. He has healed me in many ways, not just physically.

I can only hope that my talking to her and being honest will allow her to trust God and what He would have for her. As a family we talk about our values and faith. I pray that with all of that and sharing God's Word, once she is an adult, she will have few regrets.

Writing this was very helpful. The best thing I can do is continue to keep God in the center of my life. I now know that will be the best thing I can do for her and her sister.

"And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up." Deuteronomy 6:5-7

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