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!

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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!

Finally

Rebekah was my 3rd pregnancy, my 3rd labor/delivery, my 3rd child being born. And, I was sure her birth would be another disappointment. When both Cora and Ben were born I had a plan in my mind, even written down. I wanted little to no medical intervention and wanted my body to do what it had to do to get the job done. However, Cora’s birth was not at all that way! I had everything in the textbooks thrown at me. I was induced which led to all sorts of things and other interventions. Not at all what I wanted. We knew things had to be different when I was pregnant with Ben. We had moved to a different state and city with a lot more options. I found a place that had midwives and thought we would have the birth experience we wanted with Cora. Though Ben’s birth was better, there was still too much intervention. I was still pressured to have things done that I was not wanting. My desires weren’t at all listened to and well, we had another chaotic birth. After Ben was born I got online and decided to spend time researching what options we had around us. We live in a big area that is noted for its medical care, and I prayed there would be something that would be better than what we had experienced. I found a holistic birthing center that was located about 30-40 minutes away for us. I wasn’t pregnant at the time of finding this place but knew that if I did become pregnant this would be the place for us. I’m so glad we went there!

The whole process was so much better. I was NOT hooked up to an IV “just in case,” they put me on a baby and contraction monitor for about 20 minutes and took my blood pressure I think once or twice. That was it. After all that I was left to labor as I felt most comfortable. There was absolutely NO pressure to do anything other than what I wanted. I was not pressured to start pitocin, or get an epidural or anything. I was calmly told to just breathe and let my body do what it was meant to do. I was excited to have a water birth and excited that I was encouraged to have one. When things got really intense for me I was told to focus and just do what my body was telling me to do. After Rebekah came out she was not quickly whisked away to be weighed, measured, poked and prodded. We were allowed to be together for as long as we wanted. Well, that’s not entirely true because the cord was coming away from the placenta. However, once I delivered the placenta I was given Rebekah (who had not had any tests run on her or anything, David got to hold her until I was able). We were able to snuggle, nurse, just be together. We were that way for over an hour. No rushing about, no pressuring to take her to do their tests on her, nothing. We were just allowed to be mommy and baby as long as we wanted. They kept a BP cuff on me for about an hour, checked my temp once and that was it. I was not hooked up to stuff, I could feel my legs and lower body right away, I had no swelling or water retention. I had none of the pain that I’ve had with my previous 2 births. I had torn a very small amount, but the midwife said it really wasn’t worth a stitch unless I really wanted it. Nope, and I haven’t felt any pain from that.

We were able to have a non-chaotic birth, finally. I went in with no expectations and came out having all hopes met more than I thought they would be. We were discharged 25 hrs after Rebekah was born and were never once made to feel like we were being held captive. It was so nice. We were able to sleep all night, I was not monitored but 2 or 3 times and was never woken up to have it done. If the nurses saw I was sleeping they left and came back when I was awake. I felt I was able to actually sleep, rest and recuperate. It was so amazing. We left feeling relaxed, rested (as much as is possible), and I had more energy when I left then I’ve ever had after giving birth. I’m so thankful to the Lord for leading us to this place and for hearing the secret prayers of my heart. I’m so thankful that finally we were able to have a non-chaotic birth!

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!

Hospital vs. Home

It seems the more choices we have the harder it is to decide what must be done. At the turn of the 1900s most women were having their babies at home. It wasn’t a question, it’s just what you did. About 1/2 way through that century the tables turned and most women were having their children in hospitals. I am horrified when I hear the stories from my grandmothers and other older women of the birthing experiences they had in these hospitals–being put to sleep and waking up to a child. I suppose that means they didn’t feel any pain, but seriously, how good could it have been for the baby and mother? There seems to be a switch happening again in regards to where to have your child. Most women today seem to be getting asked if they’re using a midwife or OB/GYN? Are they having a home birth, going to the hospital, or using a birthing center? Are you having a c-section, a VBAC, water birth, “regular” birth? A doula, your mom, your husband? So many questions!!!! So many options and it’s easy to get confused with what you should do.

My birth experience with Cora was horrendous. Nothing went well, everything was chaotic, and it was just terrible. Thankfully, Cora was born healthy, but not without trauma. My recovery was long and hard and well, it was just awful. Ben’s was better, but still not great. We were in a different city with more options and we opted to use a midwife this time around. My sister had used midwives for her 3 children and had had wonderful experiences with them. Though Ben’s birth was a lot better than Cora’s there was still way too much medical intervention. I was still pressured and scared into taking medicine and such that I didn’t want to do. Decisions were made for me and things were done without me being asked.

After Ben was born David and I decided something had to change. I began researching different areas in our city to see what my options were. We didn’t know we would need those options as soon as we did, but I’m glad I was at least prepared. I found a midwife group that works in a birthing center. Now, granted I have not yet had this baby so I can’t give a full report on it all yet. Also, the birth center is, right now, “just” 1 room attached to the regular maternity floor of a small hospital. I have asked MANY questions of my midwife to make sure I have no surprises and that things go as close to our plan as possible. I have done so much more research, watched videos, read articles, asked friends and feel this is the best way for us to proceed–NOT going the traditional OB/GYN in a hospital route and not using a large midwife group in a big hospital.

Not long ago I was able to be a part of my nephew’s birth. He was born at home. I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure how it would all go. I didn’t know anything, really. I supported my sister 100% because after having 2 chaotic births in a hospital I figured a home birth only HAD to be better. And, it WAS. Wow. It was quiet, calm, no rushing about, no chaos. No pressuring, no telling my sister she had to be a certain cm dilated by a certain time, or else. She was allowed to labor in whatever way was most comfortable to her. She didn’t have to push if she didn’t feel her body telling her to do so. Folks, my sister received better care at home then I have received with having my children in the hospital. The attention she and my nephew were given after he was born, the OTHER children and my BIL were given. It was all so much better. It was a family affair. Everyone was a part of it as much as they wanted to be. My sister and nephew were never in harm’s way, and I know for certain if anything had come up the midwives would have been wise in knowing when/if to send my sister to a hospital. It was beautiful, the whole experience. I loved watching my nephew come into this world. I loved that he was allowed to be seen by his 3 older siblings right away, before he was all cleaned up. I loved that my parents, my sisters MIL, my husband and kids got to see little Micah so much sooner. We all got to be a part of this beautiful thing called life.

I am, in no way, saying a woman should risk her life or her baby’s life just to have a home birth. No, there is a time and place for hospitals, c-sections, epidurals, etc. However, I do believe medical interventions are pushed WAY too hard on women, and women are not being allowed (or made to think they can’t) to do what God created them to do–give birth! Our bodies are amazing and we are equipped with what we need. I doubt we’ll be having anymore children after this one, but if we do, we will seriously be considering home birth.

My beautiful sister and adorable nephew!

My beautiful sister and adorable nephew!

Pure and Utter Frustration

I was so excited to see a flour at our local grocery store that I could eat, or so I thought I could! It consists of NO grains, or soy, and it’s even dairy free. Seemed like a good idea. And, the price was good so we got 2-2 lb bags, and I was so excited thinking of all the things I could eat now! Of course, the first thing I did was make pancakes! They were so delicious! I had them earlier last week. Didn’t notice much of a reaction so I thought I was home-free. I made them again later in the week and felt pretty terrible that day. Ate the rest of the pancakes the following morning and felt even worse. I do believe there’s something in the flour affecting me. I have also learned that Bob’s Red Mill cross-contaminates (meaning, they don’t  use different machines for gluten/gluten-free stuff), so that could very well be the issue too. The package may say “wheat/gluten/dairy free” but if they don’t use different machines, and who knows how well those machines are cleaned, I could very well be getting wheat dust anyway. I’m really frustrated. However, it just shows me AGAIN, that I can’t cheat. Eating fruit, veggies and meat really does seem to be the only way for me to eat and not get sick afterward. I guess I’ll save these other flours for very special occasions, but it’s obvious this stuff can not be part of my normal diet.

Oh, you might be wondering what clued me in to the flour being the culprit? Well, other than it being the only new introduction into my diet, my stomach felt HORRIBLE, I thought I was going to throw up, I was in a fog, felt like I couldn’t function, had a headache, my nose was all plugged up, I was very irritable. Yeah, it’s not fun. So, I shall give my body several weeks to get all this out of my system and try again and see what happens. If I react the same then we know there’s something in the flour–I’m wondering also if it’s the tapioca or potato starches? Time will tell. Until then, I’m very frustrated!

Holistic vs. Conventional

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that our family has taken on more of a holistic approach to medicine and health. After years of testing and blood-giving it was obvious I needed to find another way to figure out what was happening in my body. We went the holistic route. We have been so pleased with the results. The overall health of our whole family has improved since all of the changes we’ve made and continue to make. I was thinking that it might be confusing to some when they read that we take our kids to a pediatrician, who practices conventional medicine and is not holistic, at all. Or, other such things.

We are trying to find a balance in our life. We do not feel holistic medicine is THE only way to go about finding health. We DO believe there is still room for conventional medicine. We still take antibiotics (though try to do so as seldom as possible). We vaccine our children because we believe the diseases we’re trying to prevent are FAR worse then the temporary side affects the kids might get from the vaccine. David and I believe there is a time and place for such doctors as cardiologists, endocrinologists, brain doctors, OB/GYNs, etc. We are not against any of that. What we have come to find is that if you take care of yourself on a “basic” level–mostly meaning what you eat (or don’t eat) and eliminating toxins from your body–you’re need of the conventional doctors and specialists decreases significantly. I guess you could say we see the holistic side of medicine as preventative so we don’t need the other doctors later in life.

I suppose some would say this is wishy-washy, or we should pick one or the other and deal with the consequences. I say BAH! to that person! I don’t believe life is any or none, all or nothing, this or that. I really do believe there is a time and a place for holistic and conventional medicine. This is how we choose to live our life. We have found great success in our health using both and keeping a balanced outlook on the usage of both. Again, I say, if you’re healthy and doing what you can to take care of the body God gave you then keep it up! If you know there is room for improvement, then you need to figure out the best way to do that improving. Just don’t stay where you are. Make the changes you need–you won’t regret it!