Monday, November 28, 2011

Deliberate Self Care: Going Gluten Free

gluten free

Back in September I brought one of my kiddos to a holistic chiropractor who did the arm-thingy and concluded that my son has gluten sensitivities. The "arm-thingy" refers to applied kinesiology. I don't understand it. The chiropractor put a vial in my son's hand, had him hold his other arm out and resist. The chiropractor pushed it down easily, stated that it "blew weak" and said that that indicated gluten sensitivity. He suggested that we cut back on our gluten intake. Since my husband I tend to be skeptics about stuff like this and were relectant to change anybody's diet based on an arm trick, we went ahead and had a test run by a third party. Sure enough--two weeks later the results came in that my son IS gluten sensitive. The results also stated that gluten sensitivity is usually genetic and that family members should be tested as well.

We decided as a family that if one of us was going to suffer we were all going to suffer (1 Cor. 1:26). So our new diet began.

I won't lie. It's been hard. The beginning was difficult especially. There really is no decent gluten-free substitute for sandwich bread (not store bought anyway). Without the gluten the stretchy springy quality of the bread is gone. Most bread is OK if it's toasted, but one can only take so much toasted bread. For awhile there I was making bread using bread mixes, but a lot of the bread mixes contain bean flour which has a weird aftertaste. A lot of the recipes call for combinations of corn starch, tapioca starch, rice flour, sorghum starch, and so forth. After awhile I was slaving away making these less than stellar loaves thinking to myself, "who really needs this much starch anyway?" and I came to the realization that flour is basically wheat starch. Hmmmmm. That was the turning point for me. Now when I walk through the bread aisle at the store, bread is just not all that appealing to me anymore. I don't crave it like I used to.

What I do crave is the convenience of buying a package of muffins to eat on Saturday morning, or reaching for a box of mac and cheese, or not having to read labels all the time. I miss eating out at restaurants. I miss the ease of the pre-gluten-free life. On the other hand, I do like that I've been forced to stay away from the boxed and processed stuff (fake food). The gluten-free life has been wonderful in terms of making me slow down and take the time to plan ahead make my family home cooked meals and feed them whole foods and foods that don't irritate their (and my, as it turns out) sensitive gut lining. That's the kind of mom/wife I always wanted to be anyway.

By the way, even though I didn't get tested, I now know that gluten doesn't agree with me. After three weeks of being gluten-free we went off the diet for meal at KFC. Aside from how bland and colorless the food looked on my plate (chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes, gravy, and even the green beans were a varying shade of beige), about half an hour after the meal, it sat in my stomach like a rock and I felt grosser than gross. So, yeah, I'm done with gluten. (cue the music) " No turning back, no turning back...."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Deliberate Self Care: Going Organic

You'd think I'd have jumped on the organic bandwagon a long time ago. I did. Sort of. I bought mostly (70%) organic fruits and veggies. I joined a CSA for two years in a row. I didn't used to do the bananas, because I figured you could pull off the peel and there you go--organic inside. However, after getting the Berkey water filter, I'm sort of seeing things in a new light: i.e. if I'm removing trace amounts of heavy metals and other contaminants from my family's drinking water, why would I accept trace amounts of pesticides on my family's food? It doesn't make sense. I'd do my duty and wash the non-organic fruits and veggies in that special soap "proven to remove pesticides," but I wasn't ever sure the soap was completely removed after washing either.

My grocery shopping has been drastically different these days. I only go to stores that have a decent selection of organic produce--apologies to the nearby Target that recently opened a grocery section! I was there today and needed to buy grapes, but I couldn't!

We are now completely organic, and yes, it hurts the pocketbook, but at least I have a clear conscience when I watch my kids reach for the celery.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Deliberate Self Care: Water

002
I can't imagine adding any wisdom to what's already out there on the interwebs re. the importance of drinking clean water. About three months ago we got ourselves a Berkey. I love it. The water tastes good and I feel good knowing we're not imbimbing heavy metals, chlorine, flouride and other yuckers. We should have done this years ago.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Deliberate Self Care: Flu Prevention

muco coccinum

No flu shots for us this year. We've had two scary-bad reactions two years in a row. The first time I thought it was a fluke. But the second time I realized it was a pattern. Fool me once, fool me twice....

Our pediatrician recommended we go with homeopathic reinforcements this year. When it comes to medicine, I tend to be old school traditional, but old school traditional has let us down in this department. So muco coccinum here we come.

The statistics on it look pretty promising: 88% effective in preventing the flu. Fingers crossed--'cuz nothin' makes you feel crappier than feeling crappy when the weather's crappy.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Deliberate Self Care: Chia

chia

I've been eating (actually drinking) chia seeds for a few months now and am in love. A nutritionist friend of mine recommended this to our family when I was worried that one of my sons (a picky eater) might not be getting enough protein. I ordered some and was immediately hooked. In addition to protein, chia provides omega-3s, fiber, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, blah, blah, blah...look it up. My hubby (the runner) was also hooked when he found out that this is the superfood of the amazing barefoot Aztec runners.

Chia seeds come in white or black, whole or ground up. Some people add a spoonful or two to their smoothies. Other folks add a couple tablespoons to a glass of water, stir it, wait until in turns into a gel, which they keep in their fridge, and then add chia gel as they wish to juice or recipes. I used to do that, but now I just keep a bag of it on my countertop and stir it in to whatever I'm drinking.

This is how I started drinking it--a small spoonful in my juice (watered down, always):
chia in OJ

Over a couple of weeks, I graduated to drinking it straight up in a mug of hot water. I let it sit for a couple of minutes so it soaks up some liquid.

I also like it in coconut milk. I'm not going name my favorite brand, but I will tell you that it is "so delicious." ;)chia in coconut milk

Chia doesn't have much taste, but if you have a hard time with different textures, it takes a little getting used to. When I first started drinking it in juice I'd pretend they were kiwi seeds, and when I'd drink it in coconut milk I'd pretend they were tapioca balls like you get in boba tea. A week or two later, I found I was accepting them for the wonderful little tooth-sticking youth-keeping anti-inflammatory seeds that they are.

**I'm opening comments for the next few posts. Please feel free to chime in with any ammunition you use to fend off the mid-winter jickers. ;) **

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Deliberate Self Care: Happy Light

happy light

I bought this a little late last doldrum season. It was one of those things that I kept talking myself out of, because unlike a cute pair of shoes or a new outfit, this is just not one of those fun, exciting purchases. I think I bought it in February, and by March we were getting enough sunshine that I didn't really feel I needed to use it anymore. Ah well. This year I'm giving myself a jump start. Half an hour of happy light next to me while I'm reading in my favorite chair. Whenever I sit down the dogs snuggle me, so between the light, the reading and the snuggle-pups, how can I go wrong?

**I'm opening comments for the next few posts. Please feel free to chime in with any ammunition you use to fend off the mid-winter jickers. ;) **