Friday, May 24, 2013


There is no beauty in tragedy.

But there can be beauty from tragedy.

On Monday evening I received a phone call that changed my life. One of my closest friends called in in hysterics, telling me her 2 year-old had fallen in the family pool. They thought she was already gone, but the ambulance was there and they were working on her. She needed my husband to go pick up her sons (6 & 4) so she could go with her husband and the baby (27 days old) to the hospital. After we hung up, the helicopter arrived to take little "N" to the children's hospital.

She told me to pray, to get everyone praying. I made calls, sent emails and texts, and rallied the troops on Facebook. The people I contacted made calls, sent emails and texts, and gathered pray-ers on Facebook. Within an hour, I would guess there were at least 300 people praying. By the next morning, I think it's safe to say there were 1000 or more people praying, all around the world. Family, friends, strangers, NET teams, the Cursillo community, priests in Ireland, Scotland, Australia and Italy. Catholic churches, Pentecostal churches, non-denominational churches. People who don't pray were thinking of them and wishing the best for this family.

I don't know all the details of the time line after that.

All I know is that shortly after 3am I received a text message that rocked me to my core.

She was gone. That beautiful, beautiful little girl had lost her fight for life. Her parents were numbed at that point, which I believe was merciful. They were able to sleep a little. That's when I slept a little, too.

It's standard practice for the police to conduct an investigation after an accident like this, so my dear friends were questioned and barred from their home (which was still surrounded by police barrier tape). Their boys, unaware of what happened at the hospital, were running around my house with my own three children, laughing and playing like they always do when they're here.

Except this time, I could only hear five voices, not six.

It felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest. N was only 1 week older than my little Baby Belle. They were buddies. Our six children have always had a remarkable relationship, and our two families have spent countless hours together since we met, only late last summer. N's mother has quickly become one of my best friends. Francis and I are godparents to their new four week-old baby. They are like family to us. Little N was like a niece to us.

And now she's gone and there is such a hole in so many lives and in our community.

My friend has spent these last few days not only grieving, but being expected to make decisions about her baby girl's funeral. Which casket did they prefer? What did they want her to wear? Which burial plot would they like to purchase? Decisions a parent should never, ever have to make.

Tomorrow is her funeral. If you're the praying kind, please lift this family up in this time of grief. If you're not the praying kind, send them whatever strength and love you can. And pray for all who mourn with them, including my own family. My children are struggling to understand. All they really know is that their friend and playmate is gone. I'm fine while I'm busy, but I can't be left alone with my thoughts for too long...

I believe in Heaven. I believe in the Resurrection of the dead. I believe that while there was no "reason" for this senseless tragedy (God help the first person who says, "There's a reason for everything" to me!), God can and will find ways to bring even more beauty into the world through this. He wouldn't let a beauty like N leave us without finding ways to comfort us.

Jesus, I trust in you.
Jesus, I trust in you.
Jesus, I trust in you.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Chugging Along - a Random Post

Not much to report. Day 12 of Whole30. It's going really well. Old pants are fitting better again. Frustrated by size differences from store to store. (Size 4 from one store barely do up, size 2 from another store are definitely wearable.) Learning to really enjoy eating meat for breakfast instead of eggs. I do miss those eggs, though. Really hoping this healing protocol helps me recover enough that I can go back to eating them without pain!

Doing a "yoga" workout a couple of times a week. I hesitate to call it yoga, since the trainer mostly just uses yoga postures as inspiration for her own workout. She even says, "Who's your daddy?!" at one point. Not very yoga-ish, but suits me better! I'm not much into the zen bit... I've also added in a strength-training workout a couple times a week. I've been using this one for a while, and I just change the cardio intervals to something that won't drive my heart rate up too high. Doctor's orders.

I was chatting with a friend the other day about my prowess when it comes to thrift store shopping. Behold:
These are just the shoes that I have acquired second-hand, mostly thrifted but a couple of hand-me-downs. The most expensive pair were the purple pumps, and they were $14.99. The red ones are from Naturalizer (if that means anything to you) and are extraordinarily comfortable for heels. They were $5. The light brown boots are vintage Fryes.

Tonight was scheduled to be our date night, but with this crazy freezing rain/ice pellets/snowy weather we're having right now, we're not sure our sitters (my in-laws) will be able to make the 30 minute drive to our house. Rain date (snow date?) is tomorrow though. Whenever it happens, we're heading out for burgers.

Have I told you lately how much I adore my children?

Racing in the driveway - the best way to spend that last crazy hour until supper is ready. Have I also told you lately how much I love that my husband is home before 4:30 every day? Mama gets to cook in peace, which is especially important on those days when I'm cooking two suppers.*

Went to a meeting last night for a committee I'm part of which oversees the budding youth ministry at our church. Having been a youth minister (many, many) years ago, so much of what we talked about just made me itchy to get back to doing some kind of ministry. I'm thinking of starting a Theology of the Body ministry at our parish in the fall. Likely one specifically for teens (since our youth minister is working with a younger age group right now and there isn't anything for the older teens), but perhaps one for the whole parish. We'll see where God leads me on this one.

Finally, a totally random question - for those of you who are stay-at-home-moms, how do you answer that small talk classic, "So what do you do?" I got asked that the other day for the first time in a couple of years, and I think my jaw just went slack for a minute before I was able to express that I stay at home to raise my kids full-time. The poor young man (seminarian) was baffled. It was awkward.

*No, I don't make separate meals for picky kids. But I do make things for Francis and the kids that I can't eat, like gluten-free pizza or frittatas. So on those days I make something quick and simple for myself.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Where to Begin?

I guess I'll begin about a month ago. I was due for a hair cut, and made a last-minute appointment to see a hairdresser in town. I ended up seeing the same woman who gave me my first post-shave, mullet-removal hair cut back in October. After washing my hair, before picking up her scissors, she said, "I should ask - are they sore?" "Um, are what sore?" She said, "The bald patches."

Um, WHAT?! What bald patches?!

She counted five. Four on the back of my head, and one right on top, near the back. No wonder I didn't know they were there - I can barely see one, and have no chance of seeing the others!

Finally fed up with this (not just the hair loss but the knowledge that the cause of it goes much deeper than follicles), I decided to book an appointment with my friend's osteopath.

An informative (if not weird) appointment for sure. He uses a technique called applied kinesiology to diagnose conditions and food sensitivities. I'll spare you the description, but it seemed pretty unbelievable to me - except that he was right.

I'll make a long story short and cut to the good part:
He diagnosed me with leaky gut syndrome, low adrenal function, low thyroid function, whole-body inflammation and autoimmune issues.
He went on to test me for food sensitivities, particularly ones that would affect my thyroid and Alopecia. He didn't test everything, but the list was long enough: gluten, corn, dairy, soy, eggs, and a bacteria that lives on the outside of fruit and sweet vegetables. (That means I can only eat fruits that I can peel, and I need to peel vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes.) The reason I react to so many foods is related to the leaky gut syndrome. The theory, then, is heal the gut and cure the sensitivities (at least somewhat).

Eggs?! *sigh* I was eating at least 14 eggs a week. I love eggs for breakfast! And yet, after a crazy 3-day detox after my appointment, I got up and realized the lower back pain that has plagued me for years was 100% gone. So gluten makes my joints hurt, and eggs make my back hurt. Bummer.

So now I need to embark on a mission to heal my gut - and learn to live without eggs, at least for the time being. Basically the plan is to eat the way I've been eating for the last year, strictly avoiding those foods on the list, and including some of the principles from the GAPS diet. Lots of broth, natural fermented foods, etc.

Yesterday I started a Whole30 as a way to get back on track in a hurry. I ate a lot of things I shouldn't have over the Easter long weekend. After the 30 days my plan is to add back a few things - like honey! - that I should be able to tolerate, won't set my progress back, and will allow for a few more treats. I refuse to live a treat-free life, but I also want to be able to reclaim my health and not be a slave to food intolerances forever.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

And After That Last Post...


Here we go, friends: full disclosure time.

Even after that last post about why I quit Weight Watchers, can you guess what I did?

Yup. Funny right? I think it was actually writing that post that made me reflect more on my experience with WW. While I still don't think it's a long-term solution for me, I realized that right now I just need immediate help with getting my eating habits back on track. So I signed up for a six-month package with WW.

And you know what? The morning after I registered, as soon as I started tracking my points, I felt relief. I knew I no longer had to guess at how much to eat, and I knew that as long as I work the program properly, I'll lose the weight I need to lose.

(Can I just remind everyone that right now, losing weight isn't just about vanity for me? I've regained so much weight over the past 10-11 months that almost nothing I own still fits. It's either lose the weight, or buy a new wardrobe. Makes sense to go with the option that will ALSO make me feel better about myself.)

To be clear, even though I'm doing a "conventional" diet, I'm following WW with a grain-free, legume-free, mostly-dairy-free, mostly-sugar-free approach. (But there is still some sugar in dark chocolate!) Since Weight Watchers counts most fruits and vegetables as zero points, I'm basically just having to be accountable to my protein and fat serving sizes.

Last night was a great illustration of my need for accountability. I had tossed some drumsticks and boneless, skinless chicken thighs in taco seasoning and then broiled them. I weighed two chicken thighs and tracked them. Then I topped each one with a measured tablespoon of guacamole and tracked that, too. I loaded up my plate with steamed green beans (tossed in butter) and asparagus broiled with EVOO and sea salt, and accounted for the butter and oil. My meal was delicious and satisfying, and once my plate was empty I was definitely no longer hungry. But that chicken! It was so good! I wanted to go get just one more piece, with just one more scoop of guacamole, just to continue to enjoy that flavour. But I really didn't need it, so I just sat and waited, trying to decide if it was worth the extra points. The longer I sat, the more I realized that I really wasn't hungry anymore. Eating past the point of being satisfied is often my problem.

I'm really hoping over the next six months I can hit my goal and spend some time at maintenance, so I get a better idea of what portion sizes my body really needs. I don't want to be reliant on this forever, but I'm grateful for the peace of mind (and hopefully, effective weight-loss) that I'm enjoying right now.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why I Quit Weight Watchers

First, let me say this:
I loved Weight Watchers. And I still recommend it to people who are looking for a straight-forward way to keep track of their food and help them lose weight. I lost about 35 pounds on WW after Baby Belle was born.

But the issue was this:
I got really frigging sick and tired of tracking every single bite. For a while it was fine. Fun, even. Something to keep me focused. I had measuring cups, measuring spoons and a digital scale. It was a project to work on, and I worked hard. And I did well.

But then I just got tired of it. Perhaps that says more about my personality than the program itself, but I just got to a point where I didn't want to obsess over every bite, worrying when I was eating at someone else's house and couldn't figure out exactly how many points I was eating, etc. It was fatiguing, but also stressful.

My motto for a long time has been, "I refuse to lose weight by any means I'm not willing to continue in order to maintain that loss". I came to that conclusion after trying a bunch of fad diets that involved shakes, cleansing juices, food combination theories, and extreme caloric restriction. I'm just not willing to do any of those things long-term, so it doesn't make sense to make my body dependent on any of them for weight-loss and weight-maintenance. When I first started doing WW, I thought, "This is great! I could easily continue to do this for maintenance!" When that feeling changed, I knew it wasn't for me.

Why am I talking about this? Consider this the forward to my next post about restriction and deprivation. I've been thinking a lot about it since Alexis posted this, and in even more detail since she elaborated here. Food is fuel for our bodies, yes - but it's also intensely personal, and I'll be sharing my thoughts on that.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bullet Points

- "The bigger they are, the harder they fall." Or: the farther you get into a 21-day detox, the worse it sucks when you crash and burn.
- Day 18 did me in. My period started, and it was a very painful reminder that I'm not pregnant any more. I ate rice cakes with peanut butter and jam. Remembered right away what I'd learned earlier: that eating very dense carb sources makes me feel awful very quickly. My head starts spinning, I feel slightly nauseated and very cranky.
- I mostly enjoyed the detox. Or, rather, I enjoyed what I learned from it. I don't think I'd do it again, though. I think I'll stick to Whole30s when I need a reset.
- Princess turned five on Saturday. I am still reeling! It's that weird contrast between "it feels like just yesterday!" and "hasn't she always been part of our lives?" If you're a parent, you know exactly what I mean.
- Preparations for her party involved sewing 16 bags and 16 aprons, making 16 decorated hairbands, baking 36 cupcakes (some of which had to be dairy-, gluten- and soy-free), making (dairy- and soy-free) icing, decorating the kitchen AND the basement, making a strawberry bouquet (some plain, some chocolate-dipped), making a pin-the-horn-on-the-unicorn game, and various other tasks.
The kitchen
The basement - see the cute little bare legs behind the easel? :)
The unicorn 
- Hosting the party involved nine of her friends, three of their mothers, and (surprisingly) Music Man and Baby Belle wanted to stick around and get in on the action. They're normally not overly social in large groups.
Music Man wanted an umbrella like the girls, but also wanted his sippy cup. Masking tape solved the dilemma!
A sleepy-looking, post-nap Baby Belle sporting one of the pom-pommed hairbands I made for the guests.
- Now that the party is over, I'm doing a whole lot of nothing. And for the most part I intend to continue to do a lot of nothing until the end of February.
- Princess' big day was apparently pretty taxing on her little body. She started feeling sick around supper time on Saturday, and is just starting to get back to normal. I was happy to have a reason to keep her home from school on Monday, then a snow day yesterday and a PD day today are giving her lots of recovery time.
- Since my mother is staying with us, Francis and I will actually got to go out on a date last night. We went to a Texas-style BBQ restaurant near us which was recently featured on The Food Network. We shared some smoked spicy apple wings as an appetizer then split a meat sampler plate. It had beef ribs, pork ribs, brisket and pulled pork (with two sides). I enjoyed my first taste of Texas BBQ. I did not enjoy my second taste of Texas BBQ five hours later.
- I finally got a cell phone. That has nothing to do with anything, but it's interesting to me.
- Working on another post to collect some of my thoughts on deprivation and restriction, inspired by Alexis' post. (I know you're totally on the edge of your seat, now.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Planning Ahead

Looking to the future, once this detox is over, I'm trying to make a plan for what's coming up next. And what's next is all about self-care.

I know, that sounds like a dinky pop-psychology term that's been tossed around too much. What does that even mean, "self-care"? I was first introduced to the concept while working as a youth minister. There is a tendency among people who spend most of their time caring for others to end up spending almost all their time caring for others, and they end up burning out.

So February will be all about taking care of myself. Here's the 10-point plan of what that will look like
1. Continue eating as closely as possible to the 21DSD guidelines, but with more fruit - being certain to eat my fruit with some sort of protein to avoid spiking my blood sugar too much.
2. Drink a lot more water.
3. Take my supplements diligently every day.
4. Going to bed no later than 9pm at least 5 nights a week.
5. Exercising daily. Not the crazy stuff I love the best, but the less crazy stuff that I love almost as much.
6. Minimal commitments outside the home. I'm co-hosting the hospitality time after church on February 10th, and I'm just in charge of baking the gluten-free goodies and helping to serve coffee. Mid-month we'll attend a birthday party for my second oldest nephew. Later in the month I'll have a birthday dinner for Baby Belle's second birthday. And that's about it!
7. Lots more prayer time.
8. Lots more quiet time with my husband.
9. Indulging in hobbies just for the sake of their hobby-ness. Sewing for fun - not mass-producing 14 aprons.
10. Consciously speaking positively to myself daily. Not daily-affirmations-in-the-mirror kind of stuff, but mentally patting myself on the back for getting something (anything!) done, and catching myself when I start to get overly critical of myself.

Now for today's eats:
Breakfast - Can you guess?! Two eggs scrambled with half a sausage and some sauteed onion, served over cherry tomatoes. Two cups of (mostly decaf) coffee.
Lunch - A big salad with mixed greens, chopped pecans, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette. Three slices of deli roast beef with mustard.
Supper - Roasted pork loin (rubbed with olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper) with roasted asparagus.
Snacks - A handful of pecans. A green apple and a handful of almonds.

I was handed a sample of a Lindt 70% chocolate bar at Costco - I looked at it for about three seconds then decided to eat it. I got the same head-rush, dizzy spells about 10-15 minutes later. Weird.

A Weird Weekend

I already told you I'd planned to cheat a little on Friday night. And I did. And it was worth it. This was a get-together that was originally scheduled for July, but our unexpected trip for my grandmother's funeral meant postponing it. Friday was our first opportunity to get the four couples together to relax, and it was long overdue!

I had three small glasses of white wine, some baked brie with rice crackers, and a couple of little treats I'd made to share. I made Double Chocolate Brownie Date Truffles (dates, coconut, walnuts, cocoa and some Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips) and mini chocolate coconut tarts (crust - unsweetened coconut and egg whites, filling - Enjoy Life chocolate chips and coconut milk). I had two of each of those, and two small chocolates another friend made, which had coconut oil, honey, cocoa and almonds. I also had some raw vegetables, but that's not noteworthy. :)

Saturday was definitely strange. I need to go for some blood work to check my adrenal function and electrolytes. I was told to fast for 12 hours before having my blood drawn, which kind of sucked because I couldn't get to the lab until 3pm! I took a snack to bed with me on Friday night, and around 3am I had about 1/3 of a coconut cream Larabar. I couldn't eat any more than that though - because I found it too sweet! Very strange. So I fasted most of the day on Saturday, and I was surprised by the lack of physical hunger. I wanted to eat, but I didn't feel a desperate need to eat. My stomach growled once around lunch time, but not again after that.

The frustrating part, however, was putting in my fasting time and then arriving at the clinic to discover it apparently closed some time before 3pm! I had the rest of the Larabar as we drove over to the mall to spend some time before supper, and the funniest thing happened. About 20 minutes after eating it, I got very light-headed and had a few dizzy spells. I think I've sensitized myself enough to blood sugar spikes that I can't handle that much sweetness without an appropriate amount of protein. The same thing had happened on Friday when I ended up eating a Larabar for lunch, but I didn't connect the weird symptoms with the snack at the time. Not until it happened the second time on Saturday and it was unmistakable.

After our time at the mall, we went to our favourite sports bar for supper. Normally my order of choice is to split a giant mountain of nachos with Francis, but I knew that not only was it a bad choice in terms of the detox, but that eating that much corn wouldn't be a good idea for my joints. So instead I ordered a bunless burger. The burger was fantastic. House-made patty with sauteed yellow onions and green peppers, Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, BBQ sauce lettuce, tomato and red onion. Still not 100% compliant because of the cheese (and presumably sugar in the sauce) and the fries on the side (of which I could only manage to eat about 1/3), but it was so incredibly delicious after a day of fasting! And I was surprised by how satisfied I was with just the burger. I didn't need the fries at all, but picked at them because they were there and they looked good. As soon as I realized what I was doing, I scraped the rest of them off onto Francis' plate so they wouldn't tempt me anymore.

Which brings us to Sunday. Mostly back on track and feeling great about it!
Breakfast - Two eggs scrambled with sauteed onions, cherry tomatoes, three slices of bacon and two cups of (mostly decaf) coffee.
Lunch - A can of light tuna with mustard and mayo, two slices of deli roast beef and a pile of baby carrots.
Supper - Time to satisfy a craving - I just really wanted a sandwich! I made a grain free bun and loaded it with an Italian sausage, a quarter of an avocado, caramelized onions, tomatoes and a little bit of homemade honey mustard. (Yeah, I know. Honey.) With my sandwich I had a heap of roasted broccoli and some steamed sugar snap peas tossed in ghee and sea salt.
Snacks - I cheated and ate half of one of the doughnuts I'd made for the kids. It was enjoyable - but I didn't need any more than that half.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lucky (Day) 13

Nearly two weeks down. I'm torturing myself by looking at lots of Paleo goodies online, mentally making a list of which things I can't wait to try when this is done. Although the current plan is to end on the 25th as scheduled, enjoy a (grain-free, sugar-free) cupcake and a (grain-free, sugar-free) waffle topped with fruit at Princess' party on the 26th, then get back on the bandwagon on the 27th. This is tough, no doubt about it. But from all the reading I've done, it's highly beneficial for my adrenals. And, if my adrenals really are tanked out, that can mess with my progesterone. And that's something that needs to be remedied ASAP. Sadly some of the foods that people with AF really need to avoid are some of my favourites - bananas, dates, melons, raisins - and anything else that'll spike my blood sugar. I simply have to continue on this low-glycemic path for the time being. (I'm not saying I'll never indulge. I'm just saying I can learn to hold out for special occasions - like my upcoming birthday!! - and decide for once and for all that "crappy day", "no sleep" or "Tuesday" don't count as special.)

Breakfast - Two eggs scrambled with onions and diced hot Italian sausage with cherry tomatoes. Coffee.
Lunch - A "big ass salad" with all the usual fixings and another hot sausage with mustard.
Supper - Two beef sliders with chipotle mayo and caramelized onions. (That had been on the schedule for yesterday but got bumped in favour of the Brazilian Curry Chicken. Why? The BCC is cooked in a crock pot. Less work at the end of the day!) Caved and had a handful of the kids' potato wedges. It's only as I sit here in bed at 8:43pm that I'm aware I didn't eat any vegetables at supper. I'll let you figure out what kind of afternoon I had.
Snacks - A banana. (Yes, I said I'm not supposed to eat bananas. The legal green-tipped ones aren't as bad, but I got my fabulous husband to pick up a bag of green apples for me so I can make the switch to my other legal fruit.) Some macadamia nuts.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Cheated!

I ate a bagel! And I don't feel too badly about it. Actually, I don't feel bad at all. Several people have pointed out to me in the past 48 hours that I haven't necessarily been taking care of myself the way I should be. Sure, I'm eating well and easing myself back into an exercise routine, which is great for my physical self. But I haven't been doing enough to take care of my emotional and spiritual self. And some of that has to do with the restrictions of this sugar detox. Without getting into too many of my crazy food issues, I realized a couple of years ago that I sometimes punish myself with food - and I think part of my motivation for forging ahead with the detox even after my miscarriage was my way of punishing myself with the withholding of food. So, when I made a new grain-free bagel recipe this morning, I decided to try one to see how they turned out. It was small, but it had a little bit of honey and apple sauce in it, so definitely not legal on the 21DSD.

I've also decided to give myself Friday night "off". Sure, there's something to be said for doing the program perfectly from start to finish, but there's also something to be said for doing what I need. And since Francis and I are going out with some friends on Friday night to celebrate a birthday, I'm going to have a glass of wine. Maybe even two. And maybe some dates! I have no intention of falling off the wagon completely or canceling the rest of my detox. And I don't necessarily think I need to stop once I hit Day 21. This way of eating is what's recommended for people with adrenal fatigue, so I know it's beneficial for me.

Breakfast - Two eggs scrambled with sauteed onions, some cherry tomatoes and three slices of bacon. Plus some coffee.
Lunch - A big salad (the usual) with three small slices of deli roast beef with mustard and half of the aforementioned bagel.
Supper - Brazilian Curry Chicken (I thew in some sugar snap peas for the last hour) topped with avocado and a side of roasted broccoli.
Snacks - The other half of the bagel.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Down the Drain

No, not my detox. My hair.

I'm trying not to jump to conclusions, but in the past week I've been losing much more hair than usual - it's falling out at least triple its normal rate. It's entirely possible that the shock of the miscarriage has taken an even greater toll on my body than I'd suspected. And it's entirely likely that that trip to the naturopath is long overdue.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about reliving last year's hair drama. But I also wonder about cross-reactivity/my Christmas gluten consumption. Alopecia has been linked to gluten intolerance in many people. I definitely re-sensitized myself by strictly avoiding all gluten for seven weeks. I was meticulous. Then I totally binged on wheat-containing crap for about four or five days straight after my miscarriage. I really suffered after that. I was in pain for a week and a half, and it wasn't limited to my hips this time. Every joint in my body was weak and aching. And now, as you know if you've been reading, I've been drinking coffee every day. Lots of people who are sensitive to wheat are also sensitive to other items which cross-react, including coffee, corn, chocolate, etc. I haven't been eating any corn or chocolate, but the coffee may be affecting me.

Or maybe I'm over-thinking all of this.

I think I'll watch an episode of Bones online and go to bed early.

Breakfast - Two eggs scrambled with sauteed onions, cherry tomatoes and three slices of bacon. Coffee - weaning myself off again, so mostly decaf.
Lunch - A big salad of mixed greens, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, pecans and balsamic vinaigrette. One hot dog. *sigh*
Supper - "Breaded" chicken strips with a giant pile of steamed French beans tossed with ghee and salt.
Snacks - A banana with a small handful of pecans, and a handful of macadamias with a cup of licorice tea.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Days 9 & 10 - Messing With Meals and Macros

I'm a creature of habit (in case you couldn't tell by what I eat for breakfast every day). That's not necessarily a bad thing, but when it comes to food quantity it may be.

I always eat breakfast as soon as I get up. But am I really hungry as soon as I get up, or is that just a habit? I always eat lunch right after the kids do, and I eat supper with my family. But are those the times my body really needs a meal? Snacks are nice, but am I eating them because I need them, or because I'm just in the mood to eat something? The new plan is to wait until my stomach actually growls before I eat anything. I won't push it for long, but I want to start eating only when I get that unmistakable signal until I get an idea of whether my body actually has a natural rhythm for when it needs to eat. Once I have a better idea of that, I can go back to being a creature of habit for a while.

In terms of my macronutrients, I want to try a little experiment involving cutting back my protein a little and upping my carbohydrates through more vegetables. I love meat, and I think I may be over-doing my portions a little. The other plan is to save my allowed fruit serving until the afternoon, whereas now I often eat it mid-morning then regret it by 3pm.

Day 9:
Breakfast - Two eggs scrambled with onions and sweet peppers. Coffee (half decaf).
Lunch - More pulled pork.
Supper - (Not proud of this) Two hot dogs (gluten-free and sugar-free) and a big salad with greens, tomatoes and cucumbers with a balsamic vinaigrette. I wouldn't have gone for the hot dogs except that Francis was out at soccer during supper and bed time, and I always turn into a big ol' whiner when I have to tackle that stretch of the day by myself.

Day 10:
Breakfast - Two eggs scrambled with sauteed onions served over cherry tomatoes with three slices of bacon. LOTS of coffee (half decaf), mostly because of my 5am wake-up call from Baby Belle.
Lunch - Giant salad with greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and pecans with (surprise!) the balsamic vinaigrette. Two slices of deli roast beef with a little mustard.
Supper - Bacon-wrapped chicken strips with a mountain of roasted broccoli.
Snacks - A small handful of macadamia nuts and two bananas. I actually forgot I'd already had one until I was two thirds of the way through the second one. Oops.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Days 7 & 8

We had company for supper yesterday. It was great fun - we get along really well with this couple, and their three children are very close in age to our three, and the six of them have a blast together. My only complaint is that I spent WAY too much time worrying about food! This was the first time we had their family over, and I wasn't sure what they enjoy, particularly the children. So for dinner I made pulled pork (on buns for them), homemade BBQ sauce, tossed salad (one of the dressings was homemade), two big gluten-free pepperoni pizzas (with homemade pizza sauce), and double batches of two different kinds of cookies. I'd also prepped everything for a fajita frittata, but I ran out of steam. Good thing, too! We have plenty of leftovers of everything as it is!

After supper, the other mother and I met several other friends at the theatre to see Les Mis for our monthly Girls' Night. I'm generally not a fan of musicals, but this wasn't the kind I dislike. I just hate it when people are sitting around, having a normal conversation and suddenly burst into song, complete with showy choreography. I, for one, enjoyed Hugh Jackman's performance, though some of my companions found him "disappointing". My biggest accomplishment though, was getting through a long movie without craving popcorn or Diet Coke ONCE!

(The big downer was the sleep issue. The movie ended late, and the roads were bad on the way home, so it was about 12:15 before I staggered to my bed. Francis was still awake, so we ended up chatting for an hour. I'd just started to doze when Baby Belle started calling for me. I "slept" on her floor from 1:30am until she woke me up at 5:55am.)

Breakfast - Eggs scrambled with sauteed onion, served over cherry tomatoes and crumbled bacon. And two big cups of half-decaf!
Lunch - Tuna salad with sliced cucumber and more cherry tomatoes. (We buy them at Costco and go through them FAST!)
Supper - Pulled pork with homemade BBQ sauce topped with pickled banana peppers, red onion and avocado, with a side of tossed salad with a balsamic vinaigrette.
Snacks - Realized too late that I actually cheated a bit - I had a banana AND a slice of the banana bread. Whoops!

Today was "Christmas, Part Three" - our day to celebrate with my husband's side of the family. The day involved a lot of gift-wrapping and baking in preparation, and by the end of it I was very glad I wasn't the one in charge of hosting or cooking! To be honest, I wasn't really in the mood for "Christmas". I started spotting a few days before Christmas this year, and we did our Christmas celebration with my parents as I was miscarrying. The holidays had a really sad shadow hanging over them this year, and I would really rather just put it all behind me.

Breakfast - Eggs scrambled with sauteed red onion and bell peppers with two slices of bacon.
Lunch - Leftover pulled pork and salad.
Supper - One chicken thigh, three small slices of lamb, some sausage stuffing, roasted broccoli and cauliflower and sauteed baby bok choy.
Snacks - Two slices of banana bread, and too much coffee.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 6

I expect my posts will be short and sweet for the next little while, as we have a very busy few weeks coming up. Company coming for supper tomorrow, a belated Christmas with Francis' side of the family on Saturday, and then I'll be in full-on panic mode to get ready for Princess' birthday party near the end of the month.

She has invited 14 or 15 girls (so far 3 are coming for sure), and wants a girly, My Little Pony, pink, purple, sparkly party. I'm tired just thinking about it! I just finished drawing a giant pony on bristol board for a game of pin the horn on the unicorn, and now it just needs some colour added and some horns made up. I'm generally not a big fan of standard birthday party loot bags, so I've decided instead that the bags and their contents will be primarily homemade. Pony-printed draw-string bags will be filled with things they use/make/win at the party. The plan is to decorate cookies, so the girls will each need an apron (those are already cut out, ready to be stitched)- those will then go in their bags, along with their cookies. Oh, and Princess wants everyone to be "fancy", so a decorated hair band will be given at the door, and added to the bag before they head home. (Thankfully I can reuse a lot of the decorations from her fourth birthday party!)

All that sewing/crafting, not to mention the food planning and preparation will keep me plenty busy! But, truthfully, I'm excited about it. I love having a project to work on, and since the sewing is really just three things mass-produced, it's just a lot of busy work and not too much thinking for my over-tired brain.

Breakfast - Eggs (two whole eggs plus two whites left from last night's salad dressing) scrambled with sauteed onion, cherry tomatoes, and two slices of bacon crumbled on top. Licorice tea.
Lunch - A handful of macadamia nuts and a bowl of sliced cucumber and cherry tomatoes. (This was just the result of poor planning + zero motivation.) A cup of tea - with a cheat! Almost a tablespoon of milk. Just needed a little caffeine after a TERRIBLE night, and I didn't want to risk re-addicting myself to coffee.
Supper -  A leftover chicken thigh with about 2 Tbsp of guacamole and some sauteed baby bok choy.
Snacks - Mid-afternoon my non-lunch caught up with me and I had a can of tuna mixed with a little mustard and a little mayo. Post-supper I made a new banana bread recipe, and I'm just munching on my second slice as I type. (Two modifications to the recipe - I used green-tipped bananas as per the regulations, and I subbed coconut oil for the butter.)

Exercise - Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown. First time with this one - tougher than I'd expected! Can't believe how weak I am after not working out for so long. I've got my work cut out for me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Five Days (and Two Pounds) Down

I weighed myself this morning, and after my first four days I've lost two pounds, and I can fit into an older pair of jeans again. This tells me that the two pounds were probably a significant amount of water retention and inflammation, and that I was bloated. (Ick.)

I know I shouldn't have bothered weighing myself, but a few hours later I was glad I did. You see, yesterday I made a small batch of flourless peanut butter cookies for the kids. (None for Francis. He's not doing the 21DSD, but he has given up all non-Paleo junk food for the 21 days.) Today, as I walked through the kitchen mid-morning, I saw those cookies sitting there and I literally began to salivate. I knew exactly what they tasted like, and I wanted one SO BADLY. For a few minutes, I sat and contemplated having one. Just one, then right back on track. I debated myself back and forth, until the wiser half of me pointed out that I'm doing this for good reasons, and the two pounds were proof that I was doing something my body liked. Eating that cookie (or, more likely, THOSE cookieS) would be a terrible idea. So I grabbed a handful of cherry tomatoes and walked past the cookies.


Breakfast - Banana Nut Porridge
Lunch - The rest of last night's coconut curry
Supper - Taco chicken thighs with guacamole dip, Caesar salad (with bacon!) using a slightly modified version of this dressing recipe, and some raw veggies. I'd intended to saute some baby bok choy but by the time 5:30 rolled around, my feet and ankles were too sore from standing in the kitchen for so long!
Snacks - The aforementioned cherry tomatoes, three pecans and five macadamia nuts.

Tonight the older two kids and I had a "sleep over". For them a sleep over means staying up a little later, watching a video while eating dessert, and having Mommy crash on their floor while they fall asleep. They're so cute!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Just the Food - Day 4

Headache came back today, but thankfully didn't last as long.

I ate supper in my bedroom tonight, because Francis and the kids were eating pizza. It was torture enough to make them, and I just couldn't sit there and watch them eat them.

Breakfast - Two fried eggs and three slices of bacon. Licorice tea.
Lunch - More leftover spaghetti squash with tomato and meat sauce.
Supper - A generous bowl of coconut curry stir-fry with chicken thighs, red pepper, celery, carrots, onions, sugar snap peas and green beans.
Snack - A banana and some pecans.

Monday, January 7, 2013

It's Day 3

Day 1 and day 2 brought with them two nasty headaches. Today I'm feeling fine, so I'm hoping I got over the hump quickly.

I realized there's one more awesome reason to love the 21DSD over the Whole30 (for me). Whole30 has a rule about not Paleo-fying junk foods. Even though I think there's a lot of grey area in that rule (fried chicken is still allowed?), I just don't like it. I get why they have that rule, I just think it's not as entirely necessary as people think.

In any case, I like that on the 21DSD I'm free to enjoy some coconut flour buns without guilt. It makes meals a little easier and certainly provides more variety - which is key for me to succeed. But the restriction on fruit makes it safer for me in the SWYPO department, because I'm not making banana-sweetened muffins or applesauce-sweetened breakfast cake.

Yesterday's eats:
Breakfast - Two eggs scrambled with sauteed onions, diced Italian sausage and cherry tomatoes.
Lunch - Two turkey sandwiches on the aforementioned buns with mustard and mayo. I filled my plate with cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber and raw sugar snap peas.
Supper - Plans fell by the wayside, and I ended up having one more turkey sandwich.
Snacks - A banana and some pecans.

Today's eats:
Breakfast - Two eggs scrambled with sauteed onions, diced Italian sausage and cherry tomatoes. A cup of licorice root tea.
Lunch - Spaghetti squash with tomato & meat sauce. (That's what was supposed to be for supper last night.)
Supper - Fried chicken, roasted carrots and steamed green beans with ghee and salt. (Music Man was in a foul mood, so he only ate what was required of him. The two girls, however, both asked for seconds of chicken and beans!)
Snacks - A banana and a few macadamia nuts, then some pecans and a handful of cherry tomatoes.

I've been about 50% awesome (and 50% pitiful) at remembering to take all my supplements. Getting better! :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Why the Detox?

I've done the Whole30. Twice. The second time, I made it 38 days before indulging at a dear friend's wedding (at the insistence of the mother of the bride). So why not tackle it again?

Too much room for me to continue my old bad habits but with healthier foods. Sure, that's an improvement. But what I'd really like to do is actually deal with my old bad habits.

The last time I did a Whole30, I ate so. many. dates. I stuffed them with shredded coconut and macadamia nuts, I blended them with cinnamon and walnuts - I ate them straight up when I needed a sugar fix in a big hurry. The 21 Day Sugar Detox (at level three) is pretty much like the Whole30, but with a big restriction on fruit. At most I can have one green apple or one green-tipped banana per day. This really makes me face my cravings. I wander into the kitchen, just in the mood to eat. I reach for something, realize I can't have it, reach for something else, realize I can't have that either. Then I stare at the baby carrots or the walnuts, and decide if I'm actually hungry for one of those things, or just eating out of habit/boredom/whatever.

I'm really determined to make it (at least) 21 days this time, and not flake out (and dive face-first into a pan of homemade granola bars) like I did last time.

Breakfast - Banana nut porridge and licorice tea.
Lunch - Two eggs scrambled with sauteed onion and diced Italian sausage with a big handful of cherry tomatoes.
Supper - Pad Thai.
Snacks - A green-tipped banana and a small handful of hazelnuts.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Retail Therapy

Normally when people talk about retail therapy, they mean the very act of shopping and buying things makes them happy. For me, that usually only works when I'm shopping in a thrift store - the thrill of the hunt is so much more gratifying there than in Old Navy.

The day after I miscarried, I went to get dressed and realized that with the exception of some stretchy skirts, the only things I owned that would fit my lower half were maternity clothes. I just couldn't bring myself to wear those stretchy, up-to-my-armpit pants as a reminder that I was no longer pregnant. I just couldn't do it. I figured I'd just wear my skirts for a few weeks until things start to fit again.

But my husband, amazing man that he is, insisted on taking me out and buying me some new jeans that fit properly. Amazing what a difference some jeans can make! I get to wear a belt again. I don't have to deal with a reminder of the lost baby every time I get dressed. Totally therapeutic.

Now here's the second part of this story - the jeans I bought are two sizes bigger than the last pair I bought in the summer. I was buying size two before, these ones are a six. I realize that's totally not a big deal, but it is a reflection of how much my body has changed in the past several months. I wish I could chalk all of it up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, but the reality is that I'd gained weight and stopped working out long before conceiving.

I want to be kind to myself - body and soul - so I'm not on any crazy quest to beat my body back to a certain size in an insane amount of time. But I know that eating really well and doing a moderate amount of exercise got me to that place once, and I'm hopeful that doing the same thing again will yield the same results. But if it doesn't work out, and my size 2s never fit again, I'll still keep eating really well and exercising*, because I deserve that.

*We just bought Just Dance 3 for the Wii, and I've never had so much fun working up a sweat! Plus it's something Francis and I can do together, and it makes us LAUGH. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Twelve and Thirteen

Some things about 2012, in no particular order:

2012 was a hard year. I'm not particularly sad to see it go.

My oldest child started school, which ushered in a new era for our family. It has changed the dynamic of our home - for better and for worse.

I lost most of my hair over a very short period of time. That experience changed me dramatically. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about my extraordinary friends. I shaved my head and learned that I think I looked pretty cool bald, and I really like having short hair for the first time.
The pictures on the right were taken about 2.5 weeks after the ones on the left. I lost 75% of my hair in less than 3 months.
I did two Whole30s. Actually, one of them lasted 38 days, and I just fell short of my goal of 40 days.

I attempted a 21 Day Sugar Detox. I didn't come close to finishing it.

I hit an all-time new low weight of 121 lbs, just shy of my goal of 118 lbs.

I went a year of being about 98% gluten-free.

I lost my grandmother, a woman who has always been a huge part of my life. Grieving her loss was a really difficult time for me this past summer.

We decided to have another baby. I got pregnant. 12 weeks into the pregnancy (just four days ago) I had a miscarriage, and we're in the midst of mourning that loss.

I turned 33 and had a mini freak-out. It occurred to me I was the same age Jesus was when he died.

Some goals, hopes, plans and ideas for 2013:

Get back to 121 lbs-ish. I don't have a functioning scale right now, and I don't think I'll replace it. I'll know when I'm back around that weight when certain clothes start to fit properly (or at all!) again.

Get strong. I have a series of exercise videos that I really enjoy, and I'm looking forward to getting back to them.

Start and finish a Sugar Detox. I'm starting on January 5th after my parents leave.

Recommit to taking my supplements for adrenal support.

Spend more time getting Music Man ready for school.

Potty train Baby Belle.

Continue to eat 80% Primal/Paleo, and thoroughly enjoy my indulgences.

Get my body, mind and spirit to a place where I could consider another pregnancy.

Get out on more dates with my ridiculously good-looking husband.

Organize, clean and de-clutter my house! (That's a BIG one.)

Do NOT freak out about turning 34.

Blog more.

Sew more.

Read more.

Facebook less.

I think that about sums it up. Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy 2013.