Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Unknown

We're going to dinner at the home of people I do not know and have never even seen, probably. Will met the guy at poker...they've been playing together there for a while, and he invited us over for a cook-out. They have three kids a little older than ours, so the girls should have a good time playing. The weather is BEAUTIFUL, so maybe we'll be outside. I had Will check on bringing a salad. He didn't really understand why he had to check, but what if the guy's wife is already making a salad? You have to check when you are invited somewhere. So, I'm bringing a salad. And the only ranch dressing that doesn't give S a rash. I'm hoping they'll grill some chicken, but I'm expecting only hotdogs and hamburgers and, as you know, I'm not eating beef (except for that hotdog the other night and I felt terrible). Maybe they'll have potato salad or something else. Time to go!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Food Fanatic

I did awesome over the weekend. I stayed raw till dinner both Saturday and Sunday and by Monday (though coming down with a cold) felt more energized. The cold hasn't even been too bad. I'm convinced the morning green lemonade has boosted my immune system. Yesterday I ate all whole foods, though was only raw in the morning. Today I ate well until a planned dinner out at my daughter's elementary school parents night. S was so excited about eating in the cafeteria with me, I decided to go ahead and buy a ticket and eat the processed crap they were offering. Well, big mistake. Literally within a couple minutes of finishing dinner my brain went fuzzy and I had a headache. It mostly had to do with the caffeine in the soda, but the hot dog, chips and blondie didn't help. And of course S completely crashed and went into hysterics when we got home. Her teacher gave her a hot chocolate packet for attending, but there was no way she was going to get another sugar rush after that dinner!

So, there ya go. Because it was a planned activity I'm not worried. I'll be back to eating well tomorrow starting with my green juice. I'll also be making a trip to the grocery store to get more produce.

Did you see Oprah today!? It was so interesting. Dr. Oz was on and he was talking about all the new medical marvels that will extend one's life. The craziest was being able to grow your own organ in a lab in a matter of weeks. Then it can be transplanted! Or is that a transplant? I'm not sure, but it's crazy. There was a man who lost the tip of his finger in an accident and his genius doctor brother gave him this powder substance that he applied to the wound every day and within a month or so had grown back his finger tip...nail included! The substance prevented the wound from healing and so the body sent signals for new cells to grow. Amazing. There were also people on the show who talked about their Calorie Restriction diet. It's basically what I'm doing and what many raw or mostly raw foodists do every day. They eat a lot of produce and nuts and are about 80% raw and consume fish or chicken at dinner. They basically cut out the bad stuff: flour, sugar, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, processed food.

The sad part was watching the wealthy 85 year old because he had so much produce and could just juice a ton of it every day. Most Americans can't afford to do that. One green lemonade every morning is about all we can do. The lifespans of the privileged will continue to grow, but the underprivileged are going to be completely left behind. Learning to eat differently than the SAD (Standard American Diet) is difficult and it's more difficult in this society! I'm hoping it will be easier when we move to Baltimore. There are more natural food stores for sure and hopefully I'll meet people who eat the way I am trying.

Thanks to G's allergy I started teaching myself how to bake vegan and cook vegan. So that is what really got me on the path to eating differently. I tell ya, Agave is what is getting me over sugar! That and maple syrup and honey. Who needs sugar with those three things!?

I finally got my pants taken in. That was difficult to do because I just couldn't believe I had really lost so much weight or that it would stay off. I felt thin before, but now it's a new me. It's similar to my body in high school, but because of age and babies there are differences. There are also differences because I exercise regularly now, whereas in HS I did not. I'm feeling very vain these days because I'm liking my body. I look in the mirror and I'm amazed. Even my butt is getting lifted again. I've been exercising fairly regularly for about 2.5 years straight. It's always been my goal to be fit and healthy and I'm sort of achieving it. I really value my mobility. If I were in an accident and couldn't walk or had pain I would be devastated. Who wouldn't be? Every time I exercise I'm glad I'm able to.

Next month (probably) we're moving in with my parents to be near Baltimore and my new summer job. My mom told me she wants to enjoy green lemonade with me in the morning and hopes I'll be a good influence. It'll be difficult because there is too much processed food in that house! Maybe we can work on that, Mom!

My kids eat Triscuits, Ritz crackers, Sun Chips, Teddy Grahams, pretzels, corn chips and natural popcorn. That's it. That's the only snack food they get. The processed food they eat regularly is chicken nuggets. They eat natural cereals, whole wheat bread and tortillas, nut butters, oatmeal, whole grains, brown rice, fruit, and vegetables. G is non dairy. S eats eggs and some cheese. It's very simple, but the variety lies in the fruits and vegetables. They eat salad. They love green juice. Their palates, especially G's, are very different from mine as a kid. Though, because I am the oldest and was an only child for 3.9 years, I did eat very much like my children eat when I was very little, and I remember loving granola cereal and mandarin oranges. Though as I got older we had more and more convenience foods and I ate a lot of junk food, especially through my teen years. Family dinners were always very good and well-balanced nutritionally, but Little Debbie and Tasty Cakes made up a big part of my diet.

Natalia Rose says to always let your kids participate in the food fun at parties and other gatherings. Hopefully this will allow them to not feel deprived, but to see how they feel after eating a big piece of cake and as they get older they will realize they feel bad after eating sugar and processed foods and won't choose them regularly. My oldest, S, who is 6 has a large bone structure. She was off the charts for some of her younger years and is now still in the 90th percentile. She's been described as being built like a brick. Maybe her muscles are large too. I imagine what she would be like if I fed her all fattening and processed foods. She loves food and she loves to cook and bake with me. She might tell you her favorite food is cheeseburgers. I don't sugar coat why she eats differently than kids at school. I try not to talk down about the food THEY eat, but I do tell her about the benefits of whole wheat bread compared to white bread. Though, when her teacher told me she will accept food from other kids at snack time even though she knows she's not supposed to, I didn't stand up for why she eats the way she does. Her teacher told me she thinks S is envious of the snacks the other kids have and just wants things like doritos and cheese puffs. I guess I didn't want to hurt the teacher's feelings, so I just said, okay, well, I can send her some chips more often. (That means sun chips, though!) What I could have said is, well, I don't like her to have foods that have artificial dyes in them. Maybe in the future I'll be more upfront about that. It could make someone else think. So many kids have behavior problems that could be helped (not cured) with a change in diet.

While substituting I witnessed a little girl in second grade who had mild autism eating white bread PB&J and cheetos for lunch. From what I've read and heard, one of the first steps a parent should take to help an autistic child is to cut out all artificial coloring, and try a gluten and dairy-free diet. I realize that can seem difficult and when I was told I'd have to avoid allergens while BFing I was overwhelmed, but I found solutions. I even discovered how to make homemade chocolate, though that uses confectioners sugar which I avoid now, except for birthday cake.

This has been a long rambling of my thoughts on food these days. Fortunately, I buy only what I want to have in my diet, so when it comes to choosing meals at home, it doesn't require that much thought. I just have to keep Will from bringing crap into the house. I know my reading and info gathering has influenced him because I tell him about all the stuff I find interesting in my health books and he'll bring up things later on and basically agrees and supports me in my change and how I want to feed the kids. I just can't handle it when he buys French bread or frozen pizza. I love that stuff!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Doing Detox

So my first day back on the Detox Diet has not gone well. I had pizza for lunch. It was just too difficult to resist when Will made a frozen Di journo. It was much easier in the fall when I was at school teaching during the day and had no choice but to eat the food I packed. I did well in the morning having a Green Lemonade (romaine, celery, lemon, apple--juiced) first thing and then a banana later in the morning. Of course after eating the pizza I had a lot of phlegm in the back of my throat. I got out Natalia Rose' book yesterday and started reviewing the basic food combination guides and meal ideas. I want to be raw vegan until dinner most days with one day being a juice feasting day. I know what I need to do: a food plan. I need to write down what I'm going to eat the the day before. Even Oprah was doing this, not sure if she still is. So, we'll see how it goes.

Did you know: soy, peanuts and dairy are all mucous causing foods.
Goat milk/cheese is easier to digest than cow dairy products and there's even a raw cheddar style goat cheese that tastes like the cow cheese (Organic Valley is my fave). I don't get any mucous from goat's cheese.

Laundry Lamentings

Last weekend my worst laundry nightmare happened: a blue crayon got washed with S's clothes and melted in the washer. Most of it melted to the side of the lint trap, but a few pieces of clothes were stained and after multiple soakings and washings didn't get cleaned. As for the dryer I took the door off and scrubbed that with comet because it was smudged blue. I took the lint filter apart and scrubbed the inside of the dryer with a magic eraser and then comet and a plastic scouring pad. Fortunately, all the crayon came off. We tested with some old white t-shirts before putting other clothes in the dryer.

Today was G's turn to give me a laundry issue by leaving a pull-up in one of her pajama pants and putting it in her hamper. As I started pulling clothes out of the washer I thought maybe a tissue had gotten washed, though I didn't remember putting in any sweater or jacket with a pocket. Then as I kept pulling I saw all the little absorbent clear stuff that gets everywhere when a saturated diaper or pull-up gets torn apart by, say a dog, or a washing machine! Basically the pull-up was so disintegrated all that was left was fuzz on the clothes. So back through the wash that load is going. Hopefully it will all be gone when it's done.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Literal Mind of a 3 Year Old

The other day I saw G on the toilet and she told me she had gone number 2 and was now going to go numbers 3, 4 and 5.

Monday Will and I were having a disagreement in the car. I heard G groan in the back seat. I asked her if she was upset because we were arguing and she said yes. I asked her "Should we kiss and make-up?" After we kissed she asked Will if he had make-up on his face and could she see it.

And because this one is really cute and I didn't have a blog when S was 2: One summer evening I was walking her home from my parents. She was in the stroller and pointed out "There's the moon!" At each new street we turned on she looked for the moon again. Finally she asked, "Where's the cow?"

Updates to the List

List I feel good about:

1. Daria (sweet cat) will be staying with my sister (or someone else, but we know she'll be taken care of and given back).

2. Jupiter (very unsweet cat) will be "given away" (aka put down).
(This isn't something I really feel good about. It's sad. But I feel good the decision has been made. Though every day I feed her and realize her days are numbered it's really depressing.)

3. I found out I did NOT get the job at the charter school. So now I'm focused on teacher fairs and sending out more resumes.

List I do not feel good about:

1. Charter schools, private schools, schools that advertise for openings want experience. I do not have professional experience. How am I to get that if I don't start working without experience? I have life experience, dammit!

2. Will and I are more and more stressed and tend to bicker more and G has made it apparent she does not like it and that makes me sad because she's 3 and shouldn't have that stress.

A mother's identity

I read this blog post a while ago, but it was given an award and was linked on the author's blog again, so I read it again. And it rings so true. If you're a mom you'll shake your head in agreement at reading that post.

The part that really got me was when she talked about her identity and who she thought she was before she had a child and how she didn't magically change when she became a mother. Recently I've been thinking about how I do not create much art outside of school unless it's for a show or a commission. Why don't I create for myself? Then I realize that in an alternate reality I would have stayed in school through my early twenties and possibly gone to graduate school and would have had more and more freedom and purpose to creating art as I went through school. I would have gotten my MFA. I may have traveled abroad and studied art. I would be a different person today.

If we lose some of ourselves, if we are drained by our children when they are young, then what happened to ME. Did I have children during the time when I should have been forming who I am as an adult, as an individual? Did caring for infants during my early twenties take away from my identity?

Before children, I knew me. When I was deep in the baby years (which really do fly by) I felt at times foreign to myself. I still remembered me. But I also remembered the predictions I had for my life and the time I expected to be deep in the baby years, so I surprised myself, and still do, when I would realize just how far I was from 30 years old. Now that I'm closer I feel more settled, more comfortable in my skin. I'm loving being 27 and having children. How amazing is it that I made it through having two babies and I'm not even 30! This is the positivity I feel most of the time.

Then sometimes I think about time and how little of it I really have and how much of it is devoted to other people.

In times of frustration my husband has told me I'm selfish. Yep. I am. I need to be because I still need to develop me. Today he told me I don't realize how mean I am. This is something I hear often. I blame it on stress. Today I asked him if I was ever nice. He said I used to be. Before kids. How sad. In the past he told me they've taken his wife away from him. We yell at each other because we are so drained by them.

Today G (age 3) was sick with a stomach bug and she took a nap, which she never ever does. I felt so happy and relaxed and thought how much she really drains the energy from me and Will just being around.

We have friends. A couple who have a 2 year old and a baby. I see them having the same relationship problems Will and I had (and still have). Resentment is a huge issue during the baby years.

For us it's dissipated... mostly. It's taken work. We've gotten into it many times... rehashing old resentments. I hope the last time was really the last time.

Today I told my six year old how happy I am she is growing up and is such a wonderful kid. She started crying and hugged me. She said she doesn't want to live away from me. At 6, you're not supposed to want to live away from me. That's why we stay together as a family, I told her, but believe me when you're 16 or at least 26 you're going to want to live away from me. And good lord is she ever a big kid. It's insane. And the fact that I am the mother of a kid and a little kid adds to my identity.

I don't know who I would be if I had had the time to be selfish in my early twenties, but I know who I am now and the parts of me that have remained intact from before kids and the parts I want to rebuild and the future parts I have been laying the foundation for.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Yay! Something IS wrong with me!

Maybe you've noticed some of the hype about Vitamin D. It's the new health "thing." Well, I've been complaining to my PAs (I've seen two) and my allergist for the last year and a half that I'm not right. I've been sluggish and foggy and cranky and have a really hard time getting up in the morning (I've never been a morning person, but I noticed a change in how quickly I could feel awake and it was physically painful to stir some mornings. Even crying children couldn't stir me. Good thing I have a husband. Even with a baby nursing at night I never had such a difficult time as I started have over a year ago.) Then there was that pesky irregular or racing heart rate, which happens occasionally still. I've had joint pain and trouble sleeping. Vit. D is being linked to cancer and other diseases. It's linked to SAD which I've had for as long as I can remember. Here's one of many articles out there.

Last May I saw that I have VERY mild hypothyroidism which if it's more than mild can cause many of the same symptoms as Vit. D deficiency. All drs said my issues were not from hypothyroidism. But no one tested for any vit. deficiencies. It wasn't until I started reading Ultraprevention that I thought about vitamin deficiency and asked my PA about it at my physical last month. Well, she said everything looked so normal on my last blood work she wouldn't suspect Vit. B deficiency, which is what I specifically asked her about. BUT we had discussed how pale I am and how I get itchy from sun exposure and have to wear sunblock, so she suggested we test for vitamin D. My level is 22. Normal range is something like 35-100. I was prescribed a supplement which contains 50,000mg! I only take it once a week for 3 months and then switch to the daily 1,000mg. She said that should get my level up to the 70s at least.

The other thing that I've known is wrong with me, reflux, is still driving me crazy. That last post about the headache may have had more to do with Nexium than with dairy, though the constipation was definitely the food. So, I'm back on Prevacid twice a day. It absolutely sucks, but I have to wait until I have good coverage to see a specialist and have my stomach looked at. The PA mentioned a genetic disease where the stomach produces too much acid. One can only hope, right?!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I've fallen off the wagon

I've had beef and gyro meat, oh no. Don't mock me. I've abstained from such products for nearly 6 months. I never thought I'd eat red meat again, but I caved when other family members had it and took part. Oh well, back on again. Just jump in where you left off. I also had pizza a couple times and then bought a block of organic cheese and after a couple weeks of eating all this dairy and meat, I awoke to a terrible headache and nausea Thursday and was completely constipated. I juice fasted until a nice dinner of cooked sushi rolls and miso soup. Very nice. I felt better after that. I guess I needed to proove to myself once again that dairy makes me sick and meat constipates me. So, back to the green juice, smoothies, and salads. I'll thank myself in a week when I'm back to normal--the NEW normal of feeling good and healthy digestively.

Friday, March 6, 2009

We need to change our vocabulary

If abortion is intended to destroy a fetus, then we need to change our vocabulary. A "late-term-abortion" really needs to be renamed "premature birth" and performed in such a way that the fetus is given the chance to live. It is rediculous that premature babies are born every day and survive, with and without developmental dissabilities, yet we still allow a fetus to be destroyed at a stage of development when it is considered viable. I am for induction or c-section for a premature birth when the health of the mother is jeopardized in a physical, life-threatening way or even in a mental way. It doesn't matter. If a mother with illness can be helped by terminating the pregnancy, it should be done, but the fetus should not be terminated.

I am one of millions of women who was made ill by my pregnancy and needed to have my child early to save my own life. We were given a long list of things that could go wrong because the baby was going to be born too early. However, due to the expertise at a wonderful hospital, I was fine and our daughter, now 3, is wonderful with no dissabilities.

Of course, there will be the argument that no one wants to pay for a premature birth of an unwanted baby. But guess what? You already pay for millions of full-term and premature births every year through Medicaid. What's a few more? Besides, a couple waiting to adopt a baby would get even more time with their baby if they could adopt it while it is still in the NICU and they could even take on some of the cost of medical care.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Too good not to share


This is an old post I'm bringing back because I'm finally adding a picture and will be making these again next week for G's preschool Easter party.

Since G is allergic to dairy, I've found recipes to make my favorites in a way she can enjoy. I searched the Internet a while back and found this recipe. You can substitute whole wheat flour for the spelt, but spelt is soooo good. I also added something totally new this evening and it worked very well: finely shredded coconut! Yum!

Nondairy, No sugar, No egg, Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies:

2 1/3 cups spelt flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup apple juice concentrate (up to 1 1/4 cups for more sweetness)
OR *substitute honey or agave or half of each up to 3/4 cup
(half of each works very well)
1/2 cup oil
OR *substitute applesauce
3/4 cup chocolate chips (but who measures!)

Optional: up to 3 tbsp ground flax seed OR about 1/4 to 1/3 cup finely shredded coconut (I wouldn't do both as that would be too much added dry ingredients)

Just mix all ing. together well and bake for 14 minutes at 350 degrees Makes 2-3 dozen depending on how you size them.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Two Lists to Ease My Mind

Things I feel good about:
1. I have a summer camp job doing something I actually want to do (teach art/art history) in the city where I want to live.

2. My 6 year old benefits from my summer camp job because she'll get to attend the camp (at a reduced rate automatically deducted from my pay) and enjoy swim lessons every morning, art activities (including my class), sports and games, and science. The only thing missing is music so I am awaiting dates for auditions for an all-children's-chorus in a near-by town to where we'll be living. Auditions will be April or May and if S gets to do that, she'll have a very well-rounded summer ahead of her.

3. We know when we're moving (for the most part). It's actually a very flexible thing, but it's probably happening the first week of May. At this point I'm not going to transfer S to another school for the remaining 4 weeks of school, so she'll get a nice break before our busy summer schedule starts.

4. My parents and brother are being very accommodating to us for our extended stay with them. My bro is moving back to the basement and fixing it up to be his master suite so we can have his room across the hall from the girl's room, which already has twin beds and a dresser. We'll only have to rent a small truck to take our necessary belongings up as most of it can stay here in my in-law's house (where we've been living for 3.5 years while they live elsewhere).

Things I am concerned about:

1. Will getting a job.

2. Getting health care.

3. Finding childcare for G when the time comes. Also, not being home with her because I'll be working full-time and she's not going to like that.

4. Finding a home (or homes) for our two cats as they cannot come to my parent's house, but we want to take them back when we move out to our own place.

And finally, the one thing I really want to add to the list of things I feel good about:

5. Securing a fall teaching position for myself. I was up to MD last week to teach a sample lesson for a school and had an interview and I'm anxiously awaiting word from them, very anxiously. I seriously cannot wait to hear from them. I just want to know, even if it's bad news and they've decided I'm not right for their school. I want to be able to move on. It's only Tuesday and I'm hoping to hear from them this week... pleeeeease!