Sunday, April 29, 2012

Food Struggles

Maybe you all are tired of reading my food diaries here, but changing my diet has been an all-consuming venture!

First the bad:
It has been a rough week and an even tougher weekend! All week I had sore joints. I was still able to play outside with the children, so I am not as sore as I was. There were some days that I could almost hear Mt. Dew and coffee calling my name. But, I did NOT give in. My parents took us out to dinner on Thursday night and that was okay. My salad looked like the best food on the table! So, that was not too hard (emotionally, I mean). But, Saturday night our church had a baked goods auction to raise money for vacation Bible school. I originally did not want to go. I assumed it would be torturous. But, in the end, I thought it would be fun - I stayed to watch. I almost cried once. Seeing all of those pies, cakes, cookies, etc was a tremendous challenge for me. We did not buy any junk food at the auction. I came home and made an apple juice and that improved my spirits some. Then, after church today there was a meal again... and chocolate cake. I won't lie  - I came home nearly in tears. And, I have cried off and on all afternoon.

Now - in my defense - you might think I am a silly girl for crying over sweets. But, let me tell you, unless you have given up sugar and high fructose corn syrup yourself you just don't know how hard it is! There are cravings and emotional breakdowns, and I can bet you that people will talk about you behind your back. That reminds me - one of the ladies at church asked me why I was doing this new "diet." And, I explained that I have a disability that cannot be diagnosed. That I have terrible joint pains and I cannot get out of bed. Her husband - who teases a lot - says, "that's just old age." I think he was joking. I am only 33. But, there have been times in the last 3 years that I felt twice that old!!!

Anyway, that's the bad news. The good news:

My beginning weight was 202, two Sundays ago before breakfast. Before breakfast today it was 190... a loss of 12 pounds. I realize that this alone should be enough to keep me from temptation. But, I am truly addicted to sweets. It might take months to get over years and years of sweets and overall bad nutrition. Going "cold turkey" after twenty or so years of poor diet is extremely difficult! (more on this later)

That's the good, the bad, and the ugly. I will never tell you that this kind of dietary change is easy. But, some days I am confident that it is worth it. Time will tell!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Farmer's Market Finds

Gorgeous, gorgeous lettuce.

And a Wandering Jew plant start (which I will put in an indoor hanging basket).

Friday, April 27, 2012

Diabetes is a Killer

Diabetes (Type 2) is a killer - so I am trying to keep myself from developing it. This is one of the big reasons why I would take the drastic, radical measures of giving up sugar and HFCS.

Look at these stats, especially those near the middle that speak of 2/3 of diabetics dying of heart disease and stroke.

Diabetes is a killer. If you do not yet have it, please, consider making health changes today that could save your life. If you do have it, you can keep it under control or maybe even reverse it by giving up all refined sugars and eating more raw fruits and veggies. (Do a google search on "raw foods" and "cure diabetes" you might be surprised!)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Breaking Point

I am at my breaking point... right now.... this very minute.

I want a Mt. Dew! I have felt awful for two long, crummy days now. And, I want/need a pick-me-up. I have company coming in today, and maybe some more tomorrow. And, I want Mt.Dew.

I won't go into the details of what the kids are doing to one room as I clean another, or about the toilet that is full of something unmentionable and won't flush, or the oil Becca burnt in the skillet, or the subsequent white fog in the air, or any of the other little woes I am facing. ; )

Pray for me... I gotta get through this without caffeine, without sugar. But, I want to quit! It was easy to give up all my favorite foods when I was feeling great. But, I feel awful now... and I want a coke. I am going to sit with my head in my hands now and have a good cry... and think about how much I want to eat comfort foods.

Pity me. Encourage me. Repeat.

It's gonna be a long day.

11:30 update - okay. Breathe deep. I'm okay. Becca fed me. She and Paul think that at least half of my trouble is that I am not eating enough. I do feel better now. And, Rebecca cleaned up the breakfast mess. Nelson took the rest of the troops downstairs to play. And, I folded the mounds of laundry sitting in baskets in my living room. I did NOT cave in. Thanks for the encouragement. God got me through the hardest temptation that I have faced to date since giving up all the tasty yucky stuff I took out of my diet. AND, I re-organized the basement linen closet and hung a cute little homemade curtain in my kitchen. (Quite a morning makeover, Eh?) Whew, breathe deep. I made it over the hump of caffeine craving... again. Thank you, Lord, for not letting me give in!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What is in Vaccines?

When was the last time you looked at the ingredients in vaccinations? Click here for a very short list (which, by the way, leaves out the human diploid cells - the aborted human babies that were used to develop the vaccine.) Or, on that same page you can see the long lists of ingredients for each vaccine. I learned something new today - there is MSG in vaccines. Interesting.

Small Set Back

I was feeling pretty good yesterday. I was a little tired after lunch, but did not need a nap. Then, after dinner I started feeling irritable. I was edgy and it took a great amount of self-control to keep my irritability in check. We went to the store to get water and came home. I was very frustrated... for no measurable reason. Finally, Paul said, "Beth, you're grumpy. I think there was sugar in our meal." I was too tired to look into it. I was just too tired.

(Note: Y-day afternoon I set aside all of the canned goods/boxed items in my house that contained HFCS and sugar, or MSG)

I realized this morning that I used tomato sauce in my dinner concoction last night without reading the label. It's just tomatoes, right? No. The last ingredient was "natural flavors." So, I went to the website Truth in Labeling and found this chart. "Natural flavors" is a mask for MSG.

What about my lunch? Super yummy baked potatoes with cheese and salsa. My salsa is sugar free and has no HFCS, but it does contain "natural flavors."I slept poorly last night. I was almost too tired to get up and nurse the baby. I woke up very groggy.

Apparently I have another health foe in my home.... MSG disguised as "natural flavors."

***To those of you who do not know me - I do not equate diet with salvation. However, I am just beginning to see that the nutrition (or lack thereof) that I put into my body plays a key role in how well I am able to live in a way that pleases God. For more info you can email me at***

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Do you have trouble sleeping?

I was not sleeping well. For a year or more I have gotten up 6-10 times a night to potty. And, my sleep was overall restless. I awakened to the slightest noises.

Now, I am sleeping through the night - except for getting up to feed Baby Jeremiah (almost 4 months old). This alone would make a big difference in anyone's life and health! Praise God for sleep!

If you have trouble sleeping I highly recommend trying my lifestyle change. (I went off of caffeine, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup.) If you cannot make all of those changes, start with one thing - I would suggest just giving up caffeine. The first days will be awful - I cannot deny it. I was taking two naps a day for my first three days of my new "diet." But, now I feel SO much better. I get up craving water, fruits, and veggies instead of coffee.

You CAN do it. If you are thinking, "I could never do that..." trust me when I say, that is a lie from Satan! You CAN make changes. You CAN be more healthy.

I used to think (just two weeks ago!) that I would not be able to get up in the morning without the smell of coffee to urge me out of bed. I used to think that coffee/caffeine was my only hope for my memory failures, short temper, irritability, etc. NOW, I believe coffee (and refined sugars) was a cause of those very short-comings.

You can do it. Just keep asking God for strength. And, if you need a prayed partner or a pep rally I am here for you.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

So Happy I Could Bust

I feel so happy that I just can't believe it. Who knew? Who knew that changing your diet could affect your whole life?!

I am going to be real honest with you here. Life here in my home lately has been a wreck. Between my fatigue and joint pains I was a real bear to live with. I had a very short fuse for anger. I was irritable. I was grumpy. I hurt. I couldn't think straight. The list goes on.

I thought I was the worst Christian in the world. I thought that I would never get it right. Satan was doing his best to make me think that I could never be better. I thought that it was entirely my spiritual life that was a wreck.

But, friends, after only a few DAYS of being off of caffeine, refined sugar, and high fructose corn syrup I feel THE BEST I have felt in years!

I am NOT manic. I am not bi-polar. I am HEALTHY-er.

Positive changes in my first week:
- I can get up early and stay up late.
- I can eat foods that used to cause my tongue to swell up in an allergic reaction withOUT an allergic reaction.
- I am less irritable.
- I am RUNNING up and down stairs and hills.
- I can think more clearly.
- My memory is better.
- My whole outlook is brighter.
- Water tastes good.
- I look forward to eating veggies and fruit!
- Last Sunday morning, before breakfast, I was 202 pounds. Tonight AFTER dinner I was 195.

When I asked Paul what benefits he has seen from my food changes, he said:
- more energy
- better mood
- more sociable
- more compassionate
- more long-suffering

I am astonished. I have never attempted to give up all of my food "vices" at one time before like this. I had no idea that it would affect me in such a way.

There was potluck dinner at church. I was not even tempted to "cave in." It did not even appeal to me to put processed foods into my body.

I am getting well.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April Joy

Capturing the Precious Times in life. 
Click any photo to bring up the enlargements page.

Below: Rebecca with Jeremiah (3 months) and Josiah (2)
Josiah - "peek a boo"

Josiah holds Jeremiah (with Becca nearby!)
Paul with Jeremiah.
I don't have any pictures of Nelson or Lydia yet.
Nelson is always moving to fast to capture him on camera.
And, Lydia sleeps so much that she usually misses our photo sessions as well.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Morning

A cool morning here in mid-MO. Kind of makes me want a cup of coffee. don't worry. I won't give in.

This morning I wanted eggs and toast for breakfast. And, there is nothing wrong with eggs and toast. Except that I have been juicing instead of eating normal breakfast foods. Well, I did not give in to temptation. I made my favorite carrot apple juice (4 apples, 2 carrots, and one quarter lemon). By the first sip I was so glad that I did not make eggs. Fruit juices taste so wonderful and feel so clean. Don't ask me to explain that... it just feels good.

I ordered a new juicer this morning, a Jay Kordhich juicer/grinder. Paul's Juiceman juicer is about 15 years old and wastes a lot of produce (which is not good when you are shelling out the big bucks for organic!) I would NOT buy this machine for a mere "diet." But, Paul has always loved juicing and I too want to make it a permanent lifestyle change. Also, this new machine says it can grind almonds into milk. I'd like to try that. So, I signed up for the 30 day "free" trial. If the machine is not all that we think it should be we will send it back. But, I am pretty certain that we will love it and keep it. (All the same - maybe you should wait to see if I like mine before you go out and order one.)

So, I have my tummy full of yummy healthy juice. And, I am off to teach the kiddoes.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The New "Diet" - an update

Friends - I feel fantastic!

Yesterday was another rough day, because I wanted coffee all day... and Paul had a whole pot made. After going to Menards to look at flooring (again) I got a bit of a headache - but that would probably have happened anyway. (BTW  -Joshua fell out of bed and hit his head on the concrete, so we decided to get carpet! What if he had been on the top bunk?!)

I woke up this morning feeling fresh and clear. I want to work. I plan to get outside.

I am completely off soda, tea, coffee, and caffeine! Yesterday I drank about 3 qts of water. And, the only food I ate with sugar in it was one store bought multi-grain tortilla. And, the sugar in that was probably nominal.

I am still aiming to be completely sugar free. And, if this morning's clear head is any indication - I am actually getting well.

ALSO, I have a few friends who have been telling me for years that decaf drinks make joint pains worse. But, since I was not ever drinking decaf I did not care. However, these past few weeks while I was cutting back my caffeine intake and switching to decaf I had more joint pains. So, I think there may be a correlation.

I feel great! Thanks to those of you who were praying for me to get over the hump of the caffeine withdrawal!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Want to be well

I want to be well. But I don't even know what is wrong with me... except that in all likelihood it is an autoimmune disease.

Paul and I have been watching many documentaries about people getting well and even curing their autoimmune diseases. I believe it can be done. I do think that the cure is within our nutrition.

So, I am trying to make as many changes as I can while nursing a baby. I rediscovered Paul's old Juiceman juice extractor and I am drinking a lot of fruits and veggies. I am attempting to replace one meal a day (usually breakfast) with juice. (I end up feeling like I am starving before 10 am.) I know that I have to eat more fruits and veggies, but eating them all seems so daunting that juicing seems like a better option.

I am also trying to get off of all forms of caffeine (tea, soda, coffee, etc). I am down to 1/3 caffeinated coffee in the morning... and only one or two mugs of it. Yesterday was a bad day. I had to take two naps. Let me tell you, friend, if you think you are not dependent on caffeine - just try to give it up! (In my case I knew I was terribly dependent on caffeine, perhaps to the point of idolatry. And, that troubles me.)

In addition to these - I am trying to cut out ALL remaining refined sugar in my diet. This is not too much of a problem ... so long as I can curb my cookie cravings. I am doing this, in part, because I have been researching the various factors that play a part in thyroid function. And, from what I can see refined sugar depresses thyroid function.

So far I have only seen set backs to my overall health. I am groggy, tired, foggy-headed. I am still having the cycle of one or two good days followed by many bad days.

I want to be well. I have a husband and six children who need me. I homeschool the four oldest children. I get little exercise, because I have no strength for it.

If adding more fruits and veggies to my diet can help get me well - great! I am generally in favor of moderation in my diet... but I don't know if I will ever get well consuming "moderate" amounts of sugar and caffeine.

My goals for the next few months:
- Get totally off of refined sugar
- Get totally off of caffeine
- Work my way up to a diet of at least 51% fruits and veggies... yikes.
- Drink at least 100 ounces of water every day
- no soda ever, not even decaf
- no sweet tea, not even decaf
- very little meat (this is NOT a change from our current norm. We choose not to spend our limited budget on meat. We have been eating only three pounds of meat a week for the last several months - that's three pounds for the whole family, by the way.)
- less breads (because I eat a LOT of my homemade bread. Great ingredients... in smaller amounts)
- more beans (we already eat beans several days a week. I would like to see it go to at least one meal a day.)
- exercise daily. Gardening counts. Mowing counts. Soccer with the kids counts.I am not expecting marathon condition. I just want to be able to take a walk!
- I do NOT have a goal for weight loss, because ultimately that is not my primary concern. But, I know that I should not weigh 200 pounds. After Baby #5 was born in 2009, I weighed 178 for almost two years. And, after Baby #2 was born in 2003, I got down to 160 by making no dietary changes at all... just with exercise. So, in time, I would like to see a significant reduction in pounds lost. But, for now, it is not a goal

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Seed Starting Experiment

I had originally intended to start my seeds in egg cartons with potting soil. But, I did not think that it was worth my time. So, I bought four trays of peat pellets. This is my first time to start any seeds and I am truly on a learning curve here. You can click the photo to enlarge it.

Some things you need to know about my starts:
- The four long trays are peat pellets. They look like little discs when you buy them, but when you add warm water they grow into plump little planters. I think a tray of 72 pellets was about $6.
- The two middle trays are 3 weeks old, the outer two trays are 2 weeks old.
- I planted too many of everything... because I do not yet know the success rate of this method of planting.
- The three week old seedlings are nearing the time to be "hardened." That is the process of slowly acclimating the little guys to the outdoor world. This process will be done in a few weeks and will be ready to be transplanted into the warm, frost-free garden
- Plants are ready to be transplanted when they have between 4 and 8 real leaves (as opposed to the two cute seed leaves they begin with)
- The littlest planter at the top was a cheap $3 item from the local superstore. It has soil instead of just peat.

So far it looks like things are going according to the plan, but I will NOT consider it a failure if I end up having to buy starts from the local farm store in a few weeks. Every time you try and the results are not as you planned it is a learning experience. I learn best by doing... and sometimes by "failing."

The crops I am growing:
Bottom tray - Roma Tomatoes, Green Bell Peppers, Pepperoncini Peppers, and Jalapeno Peppers
Second tray up - Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes and Rutgers Tomatoes (this tray might produce 72 tomato plants! Some to give away if all goes well.)
Third tray up - 6 Eggplant, 3 spearmint, 9 asters (flowers), 12 cucumbers, 12 zucchini, 12 watermelon, 12 cantaloupe, 6 pie pumpkin (It was probably too early to start the pumpkin... we will be the only people around with pumpkins harvesting in July :0)
Top long tray - Marglobe tomatoes, 6 Lemon balm (herb), 12 basil (herb), 24 Nasturtium (flower - bought and planted by Nelson!), and 12 more aster  
Little tray on top - Marigolds that did not come up and watermelon (planted by Rebecca)

I just love growing things!!!

What was I saying? Oh yeah, my Forgetfulness

I have been meaning to write a post about my forgetfulness for some time... I just could not remember to do it. Seriously.

With each consecutive post-partum period I have more forgetfulness (and some memory loss) than the one previous. Usually this results in my ruining dinners or annoying kids by asking them repeatedly to do things. (oh, wait, that's not forgetfulness - that's motherhood :0)  At other times I forgot that I left the baby somewhere exposed to a certain curious, loveable two-year-old. Fortunately babies are resilient and he has survived the little upsets that have occurred these past few weeks.

Anyway, this recent post-partum time has been a great trial to me (and the family.)  

But, one thing that I have been forgetting - my THYROID MEDICINE! No joke. I remember taking it one time this past month... because Rebecca brought it to me.

So, I think we have found one of the single greatest contributors to my joint pain problem (and fatigue, and grumpiness, and much more...)

My life literally depends on this medicine. Without the right dosage I end up with TSH scores so bad that the doctors panic. (One time my score was 200 - that's on a scale that should range from near zero at best to 3 or five at worst.)

So, I think God gave me an immediate answer to our combined prayers. He showed me that I have not taken my meds in... how long? Oh my, I don't want to know. So I took a double dose first thing this morning. And, if I remember, I will set my phone alarm so that I will remember to take them every morning. And, now that Paul knows that I have not taken my medicine, he will remind me too.

But, my memory loss (which could certainly be related to my thyroid meds!) is like nothing I have ever experienced before.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Joint Pains

These past few days have brought a flare up for my unknown disability. My knees ache terribly. I cannot go up and down stairs. My knees do not look swollen, but they feel stiff and swollen. My fingers and my toes hurt too.

At the beginning of my recent pregnancy (March 2011) I was seeing a doctor to determine the cause of my disability. I did not blog about it, because I was without internet access. Anyway, this particular doctor was certain that it was something autoimmune, and she believed it to be Lupus. She tested me for Lupus and it came back negative. She later told me that she thought that could be a false negative because of the hormones of pregnancy.

As she explained it, during pregnancy, autoimmune function changes so that the woman feels better. (She said it in more doctor lingo, I am paraphrasing one year later...) On finding out I was expecting again, she said "Congratulations on your 9 month cure."

I forgot about her words... until this week. The pain in my knees is so bad that I could not sleep well. I am not the type to take medicine unless I am about half-dead. So, I did not take an anti-inflammatory. If Paul would have known about my pain, he would have insisted that I needed to take something. But, Paul was asleep.

I don't know what is going on with my body. I pray that I am not entering into the downward spiral of disability. I spend as much time as I can out of doors in the sunshine. But, I cannot really work. I watch as Paul does the gardening and the landscaping. I watch as Paul plants our new prairie grass (thanks, mom!) and mulches around it. I sit and feel the aching and stiffness in my aches while I watch.

I am not despondent (yet?). I can still sing. I can type. I can play piano for just a few moments. I was able to write a few pages in my book last night... before my hand cramped beyond use. And, fortunately, I have a ten year old daughter who can (does!) shoulder the load while Paul is at work.

Not a good time for Paul to take on a new job. But, GOD has HIS reasons. God is good - all the time. And, I need to trust that He has my good in mind all the while.

When I come to your mind, will you pray for me? And, pray for my children. Rebecca, especially, is carrying a very heavy load!

Garden Update

We planted our snow peas around a happy little teepee. Our first ever attempt at a teepee. (The pictures do not show the twine that will be supporting the vines.)

It is supposed to freeze Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. So I am super glad that we have not gotten too many plants in the ground!

Click any picture to enlarge it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Our milk man quit

Our milk man quit this morning... he retired (more or less).

So, now what? He was bringing our milk and our beef to our door! And he was charging very little for this service.

Is it time to forget about my raw milk leanings? Forget about grass fed meat?

Or, do we buy the animals and get our own milk and meat?

Much prayer needed at this time. Much wisdom needed.

Giveaway at Mama Hen's

Mama Hen is having a giveaway -

a gift certificate for the lovely hair clips made by Lilly Rose!

Go check it out!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Daydreaming about Goats Again

(Re-posted Sept 29, 2015, because I can't remember why I made it into a draft)

Y'all know that I want my own dairy and meat animals... for a few years now.

Yesterday I checked out Storey's Guide to Raising Meat Goats (again). And, I read something in that volume which made my day. I can cross meat and dairy breeds! So, I can get the Nubian doe I have always wanted for milk and cheese with a Boer buck for meat. The doe will give milk and we will eat the meaty kid.
I am super excited. But, I need to pace myself. Silly me - we don't even have the chicken coop built yet.

This new information about goat crossing will just have to ruminate in my mind a little longer... pun intended.
Updated the same day:
It appears that Paul and I are at odds on this ; )

He seems to think that our children who watched too many Disney movies in the past will not be capable of eating our own goat meat. But, he thinks we could sell the kids (ahem, I meant the goat kids).