2 Years and Still Pressing On

While on vacation we hit the 2 year mark of us changing the way we eat, the way we look at food, the way we grocery shop, and the way we pretty much do life. It’s been quite a crazy 2 years. We’ve learned so much about ourselves, about our weaknesses, and what foods are most difficult to give up (dairy and chocolate!). We’ve learned how cheating just isn’t worth it and sticking to a mostly paleo diet is simply what works best for our family. We feel healthiest and best when we eat meat, fruits and veggies and keep the other stuff (starches–potatoes, bread, grains of any kind–sweets, pop) to a minimum, or in my case not at all on the grains. I did a long post last year about all the changes we had made in our first year. You can look at that list here. We have continued with these changes and have added a few others.

One of the biggest things we’ve started doing is seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis. I wrote about that here. I know it’s helping to keep us healthy, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much healthier our winter will be. For Cora, who always gets sinus infections during the fall/winter, she’s been getting sinus massages the past few times we’ve gone. We see the effects (eyes and nose running) of the massage as it’s happening. This is helping to keep her sinuses clear, and the thought is this will prevent infections. She’s already had 1 sinus infection (before we started doing the massages), and I’m praying it’ll be the only one. 

I have been doing a lot more baking using almond meal, coconut flour and garbanzo bean flour. So far the things I’ve made have been good and are things David says he doesn’t mind eating! One thing I probably make the most often are biscuits. We all like them and though they’re made with almond meal and not wheat flour David says they remind him most of the biscuits his grandmother used to make. I have lots more recipes to try, but so far I’m having fun learning to bake differently and learning the different qualities of the different meals/flours. 

Something we have discovered is we are a family who is trying to become as natural and chemical-free as possible. This means I am cleaning exclusively with a tea tree oil/water mixture, baking soda and vinegar. I clean our fruits/veggies in vinegar and water and make our laundry detergent. We don’t burn scented candles or use air fresheners of any kind. This has helped our allergies and the biggest improvement is David’s asthma, which is pretty much non-existant now! I am beginning the long process of researching the things to avoid in hair care products and make up. Changing these things in our home is the next big thing I need to do. We’ve come so far in our attempts to live a healthier life, and this is one area that has seemed very overwhelming to me. However, I (we) believe it’s the next step. We have the food pretty much figured out, and the cleaning products. Now, we need to finish with our own personal care products. 

We are also going to be adding regular exercise to our routine. Now that I’m entering my 3rd year of the best health I’ve ever been in there is no excuse to NOT exercise! I hate to do it, but I know it needs to be done. 

What have we learned thus far? Change is hard. Change takes time. Change can often be a daily struggle. Change is good. There are a lot of benefits to change despite the difficulty in it. And, most change is absolutely worth it! What is 1 thing you can change in your daily life TODAY to put yourself on the road to better health? I encourage you to do it! If you make just 1 change a week, or month, you’ll be further ahead than the person not making any changes at all. 

Taco Seasoning

With all of our changes in our health and eating I have had to become more creative about cooking. I’ve had to make pretty much everything from scratch and basically can’t do anything with packets of seasonings. This includes taco seasoning. Tacos are a huge favorite in our family. It seems to be the one meal that EVERYONE likes (Ben pretty much eats his body weight in taco meat), so we have it frequently. For a long while I was able to use McCormick’s taco seasoning packet, however, I have noticed that they’re putting corn and wheat in their packets now. So, I went to the almighty internet and started looking around. I found a recipe and have been using it for months now. To me recipes are merely a suggestion, so I have, of course, adjusted things according to our tastes. And, honestly I just dump the spices in. We really enjoy it and it’s nice to know exactly what we’re eating. Here’s the actual recipe as I found it online! 🙂

Taco Seasoning:

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 Tbsp cumin

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp salt

pinch of cayenne

–Brown 1 lb of ground meat; drain fat; add above seasonings and 1/4 c water. Simmer for 5 min and enjoy!

Bone-crackin’ Good Time!

For years I scoffed at it. For years I trembled at the mention of it. For years I avoided it like the plague. And then I didn’t. And now, I’m a huge fan of it. What is “it?” Chiropractic medicine! I thought for a long time it was what weirdos did, didn’t think there was any benefit to it. I don’t know when I started turning my mind towards it all. Maybe when my dad started going and was getting great help for his back pain. Maybe when my hips were always is such pain (even not in pregnancy), and I figured the only relief I was going to get was having someone “crack my bones.” We then started seeing a holistic doctor almost 2 years ago, who is also a chiropractor. I got adjusted by him a few times and felt so much better. I saw a lot of help in my hips and knew that I had been ridiculous to allow myself to suffer in unnecessary pain for so many years.

Skip ahead to my last pregnancy, with Rebekah. My holistic doctor does not take insurance of any kind, and we could not afford for me to get adjusted as much as I needed it done. But, I was in a lot of pain and knew I needed some kind of help. At about the same time my grandmother moved here, and she has regularly seen a chiropractor since the 1950s. In an attempt to find a place for her we stumbled upon the office we currently go. Our chiropractor does a great job! In the office they incorporate massage therapy (which I took full advantage of during pregnancy!) and physical therapy. The whole staff is nice and it’s just fun to be there! Plus, you know you’re going to leave feeling great!

I have learned since switching to this office that not all chiropractors are the same. Not that my holistic dr. was rough or bad, but since going somewhere different I see that in comparison he is. Or, it could just be slightly different techniques used at this current office are better for me. I’ve also learned it’s OK to say, “gently!” (can you name that movie?), and it’s OK if you feel the dr. is giving too much pressure. In either case we, as a family are going to be getting adjusted regularly. (oh, and on a side note, this office takes insurance…) We have already been taking Rebekah and seeing great improvement in  her neck. She’s more readily putting her head to the left and not just the right. I have been doing more and more research and finding more and more evidence that getting children adjusted regularly is very beneficial for their health. I have several friends who take their kids and their kids are very rarely sick. With Ben’s propensity for respiratory stuff including ear infections, as well as both he and Cora dealing with some stomach issues it just makes sense to take them. The dr. is seeing them 2x a week for right now to get the bones and muscles in the right places, and then they’ll be seen 1-2 times a month to keep things where they should be. We are so excited to see how this improves their (and our) health. Do I think this is the end all? No, but we do believe it will only help.

In speaking with our current chiropractor it’s amazing how normal childhood activities–from birth to climbing a tree–causes trauma to the spine and neck. And all of this affects ones’ health. The body is designed and has the ability to heal itself (yes, we have an amazing Creator!!!). Keeping your spine aligned aides in this process. For more information do a little research of chiropractic medicine and its benefits. You just might find yourself in an office having a bone-crackin’ good time!

Update

I wanted to write an update regarding Rebekah. Yesterday my post was concerning her tummy troubles and all that’s going on there. I tend to write my blogs several days in advance and in this case things have changed some. She is still having some issues, however, she is improving. I was told by a friend that it takes 2 weeks for the milk protein to get out of one’s system. It would have been nice for the GI to tell me this at our appointment last week. I would have been more understanding as to why Rebekah wasn’t seeming to improve. In any case, since learning this it’s been easier and definitely helpful. She IS improving and we’re thankful for that! I don’t think she’s totally better yet, but she is certainly better. We continue to give her Prevacid and Gripe water. She is definitely eating better/more regularly now and sleeping better too. She’s also way more content, and the kids are enjoying playing with her on the floor while she smiles and coos at them! I’ll be interested to see how she progresses this week. It’ll be 2 weeks next Monday evening that she’s been dairy-free. We’re praying this is the answer.

We’re also continuing the chiropractor appointments. They are really helping too! The chiropractor is fully aware of her tummy issues and so spends extra time on the vertebrae that are connected to her tummy. The more times we go (yesterday being the 3rd) the more he’s able to do. He’s also working on her neck muscles. She favors the right side, and so he’s trying to retrain the muscles so she’ll move in both directions–we don’t want her to have a flat head, or crooked neck! It’s helping her and she’s starting to move her head more to the left.

Thank you for your prayers! We greatly appreciate them! God is faithful and is giving us strength. There are days when I wonder how we’re going to make it and then before I know it, all 3 kids are in bed, and I’m sitting in quiet. I’m thankful for His strength, grace and HEALING!

A Hard Week

Last week was pretty rough. Cora got quite sick on Monday with a high fever and saying her tummy hurt. She spent the day sleeping on the couch–something she’s NEVER done in all her 4 years of life! This meant she got more attention and was needing to be cuddled, hugged and held more. I wasn’t sure how it was all going to go because Ben has been struggling so much already with not having as much attention as he’s used to. However, praise the Lord, he did just fine, and Rebekah was having a good day too.

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Then, on Thursday, Ben woke up from his nap with a fever and obviously not feeling well. He later threw up on David and one of our living room chairs. He was sick all day Friday and was extra clingy, whiny, etc. Rebekah was also having a bad day on Friday, and so it was really hard to balance taking care of both.

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To top it all off, David woke up Friday morning saying he felt like a truck had hit him. He, too, got the bug, and so spent all day Friday on the couch. Needless to say, I was at my wits’ end on Friday. I did not handle things well, but I’m so thankful for God’s grace and my family’s forgiveness. I’m glad last week is over (and glad to be able to get back to blogging) and am glad this week is going much better!

So Simple!

My sister had her 4th baby in early April, our nephew Micah. She had a home birth, delivered him in the water, and it was just a beautiful thing! I was so privileged to be a part of it. Before my nephew was born my sister told me she was going to be getting her placenta encapsulated. WHAT??? I was quite taken back, but I wanted to know more and so heard her out. Turns out placenta encapsulation has been done for a long time. It comes from ancient Chinese practices. Why on earth would my sister do this? Well, studies and history has shown that ingesting the placenta after birth has many benefits. The woman is given back her hormones and nutrients that are custom to her body. This helps with postpartum depression, baby blues, aides in milk production, and I’m sure there are so many other benefits as well. The pills can also be taken during menopause and are shown to help with mood swings and hormonal changes during that time as well.

So, how is this all done? Well, the placenta is dehydrated, ground up and put into capsules. You take a pill a day for a few weeks, keep the leftovers in the freezer and pull them out to take during menopause. I’m sure there are different “prescriptions” for this, and I’m not entirely sure what my sister’s was. Mine has been to take 1-2 capsules 3 times a day for 2 weeks and then as needed, such as during a stressful time, or during menopause.

I was convinced (as was my husband) that I needed to do the same as my sister when we saw just how wonderfully she was doing after giving birth to my nephew. Postpartum depression is something both of us have really struggled with. Let me tell you, I saw my sister a week after she gave birth, and I had never seen her looking, acting and feeling so good that soon after giving birth. She was doing so well (and so much different) that even my husband noticed! We were convinced this was something I needed to do as well. I found a lady online who does encapsulation in my area and set everything up with her.

I have not felt this good after giving birth ever. I have so much energy, I feel like my moods/hormones/emotions are more even and not fluctuating all over the place, and I feel absolutely no depression whatsoever. David has noticed such a difference, and we do not regret getting this done at all.

Yes, it sounds weird, even gross to have ones’ placenta encapsulated. However, after reading about it, and seeing with my own eyes the benefits of doing so, I’m so glad I did. Yeah, it’s gross to think about sometimes, but honestly I can’t believe I didn’t know about this before. I would have certainly taken advantage. It’s a small price to pay for sanity! I feel great, my sister feels great, and I will be encouraging pregnant women to have this done. It’s a very natural way to help yourself feel so much better after giving birth and it’s as simple as swallowing a pill!

See? Not so scary! Just look like big vitamins!

See? Not so scary! Just look like big vitamins!

A Little More Tweaking

I’ve been wondering for over a month now if rice and I are not getting along. It seems whenever I eat it I get a really bad belly ache and the usual grain-related after-affects. I’ve also figured out that dairy is doing more to me then just giving me indigestion. I’ve been cheating way too much with dairy and have been paying for it big time. End of last week I went back to my holistic doctor (first time since I was 7 weeks pregnant–yes, life just got away from me!). I felt it was necessary to get checked out and make sure I’m getting what I need right now during pregnancy. I asked him to test me on rice and sure enough, I tested bad for that. And, he noticed other things were going on and said, “Have I said no dairy before?” Yes, yes, you have…the areas of my body that were testing weak were mostly due to the dairy and then followed by the rice. Soooooo…I really need to crack down on myself and rid my body of the dairy!

We had our holistic doctor check out Cora as well. She’s been complaining for months of a tummy ache. We thought, at first, it was a stall tactic for going to bed. But, it has continued and so we decided to have him check her out. She did a fabulous job (of course, it helps that the holistic experience is not at all painful or invasive!) with the testing and was such a big girl! What did we find? Well, DAIRY and refined sugar are really affecting her. Boo. She’s our cheese and milk girl so this is going to be a hard transition. But, it would seem dairy gives a lot of issues to a lot of people, and it seems to run in the family (Ben is basically dairy free for the ways it affects him).

And so, we as a family continue to tweak the way in which we nourish ourselves. We are going to mostly eliminate dairy from our house (because if it’s not in the house we won’t be tempted to eat it), and I’m going to make a more concerted effort to put other forms of “milk” into our diet, such as almond or coconut. I’m also going to be baking/cooking more with honey, maple syrup (real syrup, not the flavored corn syrup) and unprocessed sugar (like, Raw Sugar). It will improve our family’s health, our children’s health and it’ll help our bodies function so much better. Does this seem radical to you? Well, maybe it is, however, we’re on a quest to improve our health for life. We want to treat our bodies with respect. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s worth it. And so, we continue to tweak. It’s a process. It’s not something we’ve done all in one day. We’re tweaking our process, and we’re making changes as we learn them and as we find the need to do so. What small change can you make in your life TODAY?