I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.

I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I'm Sewing For the Shop Again

I go through phases with my Etsy shop. I'm hearing the blue jays calling in the fall, and I can feel the chill in the air. It makes me want to create warm things, and at the moment it's hatshatshats!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Holistic Health Management - Another Attempt At Finding a Guide

I am trying to restore my health, physical and emotional, through natural means. I am fairly new to it, and am hoping to find someone to help guide me. I tried the Natural Health Improvement Center in a nearby town, and after finding myself "detoxing" with strong stomach discomfort without knowledge of what was going on and what the goals for me were, I decided that it was not for me! But I'm feeling tired and crummy and tense and down and in the need of serious recharging. While some of the ways of achieving that are pretty obvious, others are not so clear to me, and so.

Yesterday I went to a center in town which houses a large number of holistic practitioners with many different areas of expertise. The one I sought out is a woman who, among other things, practices acupuncture and Chinese medicine. I looked her up after several people, from Holistic Moms Network and other places, recommended Chinese medicine as a good approach to seeking good health through holistic means. And I really would like someone who is knowledgeable in the areas of health management that I am interested in and am currently using to help guide me in my efforts.

The woman I met with is knowledgeable in acupuncture (which I've never had,) Chinese herbs (no experience here either,) movement (yoga and another I can never remember the name of. I have done yoga many times and love it) aromatherapy (I have been dabbling with essential oils for a few months now) and Eastern nutrition (whatever that is.)

For starters, I have to tell you that I was with this woman for 2 1/2 hours. She was thorough. I started by completing paperwork, which took a while. Health history and whatnot. I sat in the hallway in an upholstered chair with muted colors all around, and soft music. She then took the paperwork, left me in the hall, and went over the paperwork by herself. We then talked about what she does, and she drew me some diagrams of basic Chinese medicine principles. (I couldn't reproduce that for you if I tried, but maybe I can find a good link...) She talked about yin and yang (which she pronounced yong) and the seasons, and the body. She seemed to think that most of my complains were in two general, related areas. She then did a demonstration of acupuncture on herself, then treated me. Acupuncture was about what I expected. I really didn't feel anything other that some localized itching around two of the needles. She explained that the itching is due to "heat" coming out, or through, or something. She then jabbed another needle in one of my toes (ouch!) which took the itching away. :/ Anyhow, I don't know about anything else, but it WAS nice to just lie there and think my thoughts for a while!

She informed me that she will begin with Eastern nutrition, then as we meet over time, she'll introduce other areas of interest. She looked at my tongue (?) and told me that I need more fluid, in the form of water and vegetables (veggies, she explained, are like a time-release water source) She asked me to keep a food journal, keeping careful note of the time I eat things. She asked me to note any changes in myself, in any aspect of my being. And she informed me that future meetings, which would initially be twice a month, would be for about 1.25 hours each. I have to say that appeals to me, for the break from my reality it will give me!

And she sent me on my way. So..... so far so good I guess. She is going to help me with essential oils, and informed me that from a Chinese medicine perspective, the oils are very strong, and should be used sparingly. She said that rather than use them daily, they might, for example, be used three times a week for two weeks, then take 2-3 weeks off. Interesting.

I look forward to learning about the movement.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Letter To A Friend (Re: Child-Rearing/Anxiety)

A friend and I talk often about parenting, and the decisions that are presented to us every day. In response to a thoughtful letter she wrote me, I wrote the following. I'm sharing it because it actually made me feel better to write down my thoughts. I am always open to your responses, whether similar or vastly different. Perhaps journaling (in addition to blogging!) would help me to sort some of this stuff and relieve some of my stress. In my spare time!! =)

Hi (friend),

I have been thinking about how to present my thought on all of this since I read your message yesterday.

Let me start by saying that I have always been of the mind that a child should have an opinion and options in all situations unless unsafe or unrealistic. That being said, I have found many situations where this approach didn't always work. 

How to expand on that? Well, for one, there have been many, many times when my father has made comments to me and (hubby) that "what (DD) wants, (DD) gets." Yes, I have enough self-confidence in my feelings about parenting that I hear him but do what I feel is best. But I HEAR him, and I think about it. 

And there have been situations more recently that have made involving her in every decision a bit of a challenge. She has taken to refusing to go out unless it is to her choice of destination, for example. Adjusting to having to go to school when she didn't want to was almost too high a mountain to climb. 

As much as I, and I believe most, parents would like to have the time and patience to review every situation with our kids and to process with them for as long as it takes for him or her to feel heard and to come to an understanding, it simply isn't possible all of the time. Lord knows I am not the most patient person in the world, and I would feel better about myself if I took more time to review things with my kids. The reality is that I am impatient, get frustrated easily, and expect my kids to accept and move on more than is ideal. 

So! When I am faced with something like the school situation, I am always conflicted!! I HATE that (DD) feels sad and stressed and nervous about going to school. It breaks my heart every day, even all summer! I hate it. At the same time, I NEED a little space from her in order to regroup and recharge. I have learned the hard way that if I don't get any space, I take it out on HER. And then feel horrible, and on and on. 

The answers are never easy! I have and do wonder if homeschooling would be good for us, but I also see how (DD) lights up when she is around other people, both kids and adults, and she just wouldn't get as much of that if she was taught at home. For every day that I took her to school sad and scared, she came home saying she had a good day, and sang songs from school and talked about cool things she did that day. Ak! 

(DD) has transition issues. I have been told again and again that after a few minutes of being upset, MOST of the time (DD) calms down and joins in whatever is going on. She still talks about fun things she did at Tiny Tots camp last summer. She LOVED her pre-k teacher. So what do I do?

I hope and pray that I am doing the right thing by pushing her through the rough spots. I tell myself that I am helping (DD) to live in the "real" world by urging her to face her anxieties a bit, so that larger anxieties later in life won't broad side her. 

Do I hate the idea of leaving her crying? (Friend), it rips my heart out. The stupid school asked me for permission to take her in kicking and screaming. I hate that. But the alternative is to sit in the car with a progressively upset child who becomes more and more unwilling to get out and face her day, has her anxiety relieved by returning home, and an increased belief that school is an impossible hurdle. My daughter needs a push. And I had to learn that the hard way!!!!!!! I don't like being the pusher!!! In pre-k, (Hubby) had to take her to school for a week, as (DD) and I were too intertwined to reach our goal of a successful transition to school. This is hard for me!!!!!!! But having a child who does not have the same kind of anxiety, who walks unafraid into a new situation, actually makes the job a little easier. I can see more clearly that I am not pushing my un-ready child into the fire, I am helping my healthy child with out of control anxiety to pop over the top of the hill, after which she is very likely to coast down the other side. Does that make it easier? Sighs. Only a little. 

The fact is, I am fried. I am TIRED. My body hurts. My relationship is a far distance from what we want it to be. So I'm not doing things in a way that is perfect for me, or her, or the rest of us. I am making decisions on the fly every day. And I go to bed absolutely whipped every night. And wake up tired. I don't know all the answers. And I carry the weight of these things maybe more than most, due to my own anxiety issues. And (Hubby) doesn't deal well with anxiety, either. So we've kind of got the cards stacked against us with this stuff! But we carry on.

And yes, with two parents, you have two opinions, and it is inevitable they will conflict now and then. But perhaps having both helps a child to be more well-rounded. Sounds good, right? ;)

(DD), in some ways, holds me hostage because I am so hesitant to do things she's not comfortable with. That's not healthy for either of us. I rarely go out because she doesn't want to be away from me. (Hubby) and I very rarely go out, because she's anxious about baby sitters. While on our trip, she wouldn't sit at a dinner table while I went to get my food. She had to walk with me every where I went. On one side, I don't want her to be anxious so I tell her where I'm going all the time. On the other hand, I can't do a thing on my own! So where do you draw the line?


(Signed, me)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Montessori - Latest visit

So we visited. This morning. For an hour and a half.

Let's just say the teacher and Head of School got a good idea of what they may be up against in the first weeks of school. Hm.

At the moment, they have camp going on in the classroom where DD will have school. The room was filled with quiet, busy children. DS marched right in, as is his style. DD timidly followed him. The HOS had informed the teacher that DD would be coming in, so she made a point to come spend time with us. DD from the start was more timid with both of them than the last time. The teacher attempted several times to engage DD in conversation, with little response. She did sit with the two of them and engaged in the "work" that DS had chosen. (A bead-stacking game) I scootched back a bit to try to give them a little space. DD was very aware of my every movement! At one point the HOS asked me to come meet with her in her office. DD would have none of that. She informed me that she would be coming with me. The HOS decided to wait on the meeting. I decided to walk around the room, and informed DD that I was doing so. She insisted on going with me, even though I informed her I'd be in her line of sight at all times. The teacher than informed DD that I would be going into a meeting, and DD threw a fit. She insisted on going, too. She was informed that she would need to sit outside the door. When the teacher attempted to close the door, DD pitched a fit. I suggested we leave the door open a crack, and she agreed to that. While I spoke with the HOS, DD counted to 100 twice. She then informed me she had done so, and agreed to count again. Etc. Several times during the meeting, DS walked in, and was guided out again. Sighs. This just sucks! Anyhow, the HOS showed me a book on anxiety that she had bought, and gave it to me to borrow for two days. I like that she is doing her homework on this stuff. That's cool. And reassuring. The teacher seems more firm. The HOS asked me, point blank, if I would give the teacher permission to carry DD in to school on the first day if need be. I (sick to my stomach) said yes. Have I mentioned that this sucks?

Anyhow, that's how it went. The kids played on the playground for a few minutes after we left, and DS cried when we left saying he would miss the kids! Different kids!!

When we got home, I asked DD if, anxieties aside, she thought she could like the school. She said yes. And she is focusing (kudos to her!) on getting her own fish for the classroom fish tank, and did leave the school discussing that with the teacher, who said she couldn't wait to see it.

Blagh. Orientation night, for parents, on Thursday.

Breathe In, Breathe Out

School will be starting again soon. Very soon. 14 days. But writing that makes it feel as if it's not really that soon, so already I feel a bit better writing this down. But it's still looming. And I feel it in every cell of my body. Ugh.

Here's the deal. DD is extremely anxious about school. I have written a little about this before. She has what I call an unofficially diagnosed anxiety disorder. Whatever that means. What it means in real life is that she handles transitions differently than the "average" child. This is true for small transitions, such as a friend arriving or leaving, to huge transitions, such as starting a new school. She handles the smaller transitions by never saying hello or goodbye when people arrive or leave (that includes strangers or those who are close to her, including me.) She handles the bigger transitions in direct ways ("I won't be going to school) and indirect ways (large fear of needing to use the bathroom while at school, which became such an intense focus during the end of the last school year that it spanned the summer break.)

To add to this, DD is being parented by not one, but two people who also have some difficulty managing anxiety effectively. Ak! For my part, I'm not always sure I can make the best decisions for her based on my tendency to avoid stressful situations myself. I spend a lot of time processing and questioning every situation. I also come at all of this with a bit of impatience. Not lack of empathy. Of that I have plenty. But I do become impatient easily. And so.

This year, DD will be attending a new school. No, not the easiest thing for a child with transition issues. But I strongly feel that the potential benefits of the new school will make the transition worth while. I am so hopeful!!

When faced with a transition, I try to mentally pull myself back from the situation and look at it objectively. What makes a new situation less scary? Familiarity, right? So I've made it my job to help DD become familiar with the new school. I tried on four different occasions to get together with the family of another girl who attends the new school. When I visited the school with DD (the visits are normally drop-off, but not with DD! She would have none of that.) there were three girls who approached us, after we had been there for an hour, to gently say hello. There was one who especially impressed me as being someone that DD might bond with. I contacted her mother, who readily agreed to get together with us. But after four attempts, and four times of it not working out on their end, I gave up. Damn! I kept in close contact with the Head of School, and communicated openly with her about DD's anxieties and the potential for a difficult initial transition. She agreed with me that several visits to the school during the summer would be a good idea. This has translated into two visits (sighs,) the second of which is today. Just before the first visit a couple of weeks ago, the Head of School informed me that the Lower Elementary school teacher had announced that she was leaving. Ok, glad we didn't bond too much with her! The visit was scheduled on a day the new teacher would be there setting up. They had summer camp going on that day, and DD and DS got to see that in action. They were invited into the room with the kids, and DS quickly jumped in. In her style, DD followed him. I had that opportunity to talk with the new teacher, and the HOS, for a few minutes. DD came back to check in with me about once every two minutes. DS ignored me completely. Different kids!! The teacher made attempts to talk with DD, which were fairly successful. To her credit, she asked DD about things she was interested in, taking the spot light off of her. This is a very good tactic with DD, and she spoke freely about her garden and her cats. We had the opportunity to go out on the playground for a few minutes before leaving. DD very much wanted to go back in to say goodbye - a very good sign. I had spoken with the HOS about the camp program, and thought that it would be a very good thing for both kids to attend one week of camp. DD could get more used to the classroom she would be in, and she could be there with DS for the week. Can you guess how that went over? She flat out refused, saying she would just start school there. Ok.....

That visit was two weeks ago. In the meantime, we have had to purchase some supplies and start planning for the start of school. Of course this has meant increased anxiety on DD's part, and a few "I'm not going to school"s. And an increased concern about the bathroom.

You see, DD refuses to use the bathroom at school. Unless I'm there. Which I'm not. At the end of last school year, she was wearing a pull-up. No kidding. It was the difference between going to school a little tearful and nervous, and her having a full-out panic attack at drop-off. And this was a school she had been at for two years. It's not that she is unable. She is perfectly independent in this area at home, and often will insist on going on her own while we're out. (yay!) But not at school.

So yesterday I made the decision to offer her the pull-up option for the first week of school. Oh I didn't want to do that! But DD will also be asked to walk in to the school, from my car, with the teacher, and not me. And that's new. And scary. And huge. And after all, is it really that big a deal? Can we focus on a few mountains at a time? Will her stubborn-ness make that a bad decision in the long run? Will the new school make me proud of my decision and ease her anxiety enough to encourage her to face her fears in this area? At what point do I push? And how hard?

Let me add to all of this that DD also won't eat at school. Is this because eating results in need of the bathroom? Yes, probably. But she also doesn't like to do anything that people can watch her doing, without her approval, and that includes eating. This became an issue back in pre-k, at snack time. The kids were asked the "question of the day" while the ate, and DD refused both!

And so on.

So I'm a nervous wreck. And trying not to show it!! And of course kids are very aware.

To the school's credit, they are working with me to help her. The HOS bought a book on child anxiety. She has offered some ideas, such as suggesting DD have her own fish in the class fish tank. (Nice one! DD is very psyched about this!) And she has been very open to talking with me.

So today we visit again. And the countdown is on. Breathe in, breathe out. I just reminded her, and got an emphatic "No! I don't want to!" Ohhhhhhh.......

Monday, August 9, 2010

Infinity/Convertible Dress - Sewing Tutorial

I found a free online tutorial for a dress. Now, I am not a dress wearer. It is truly a rare occasion. I do enjoy wearing skirts when I"m in the mood, but even that is not frequently. But after reading this tutorial, I couldn't keep myself from making one. I don't know why. It just pulled at me for some reason. So before I could talk myself out of it, I ordered a whole bunch of fabric online. Now I was committed!

First things first, let me give credit where credit is due. Here is the link to the tutorial I followed: Infinity Dress Tutorial

I then found a blog which also covers this tutorial, with some additional helpful information thrown in: Blog of Tutorial

Here is a picture of the dress I made in ONE hour!

And here's how you do it!

Find yourself some nice, stretchy fabric. At least 40% stretch is recommended.

You will need four pieces to make this dress. A circle for the skirt, two loooooong pieces for the straps, and a strip for the waist band.

Circle: Measure your waist and divide this number by 6.28. (Read about it in the original tute) Now determine the length you want the skirt part to be. Add the two numbers. Now create a pattern piece for your skirt. You will probably need to create a half circle pattern piece, then either fold your fabric double to create a circle, or cut two half-circles (if you are tall or have fabric that is not wide enough) and sew them together. So.... make one of these:

The small cut out is the waist of your skirt. Take the first measurement number you came up with, your waist measurement divided by 6.28. Using a string the same length as that number and a pen(cil), draw an arc. Then measure another string the length of your skirt PLUS the number you came up with for the waist. Measure from the same starting point on the material (which, by the way, can be interfacing, poster board, cardboard, whatever you can come up with!) and draw another arc. Cut on both lines, and you will have created the pattern piece for your skirt. 


Straps: You will want the pieces to be 1 1/2 times your height (yeah, really!) The width will be the measurement from the middle of your rib cage to beneath your under arm. Yep, these are LONG pieces.

Waistband: The waistband should be about 2" long by the measurement of your waist. You'll want to measure it so that the stretchiest direction of the fabric goes around your waist. Know what I mean?

Ok. Now lay the skirt piece with the WRONG side UP. You'll be stitching on the inside. You will lay your two strap pieces with RIGHT sides UP. Overlap the strap pieces on one end by about 3-4". The raw edges of the straps will go right up against the raw edge of the waist. 

Now, take the waist band piece and fold it in half lengthwise. This part has confused a lot of people, so please take note. The waist band will not be seen when the dress is completed. It is stitched to the INSIDE of the waist, mostly for structural integrity. This part might seem odd, but it works. Have faith! Starting where the two straps overlap, place the raw edges of the waistband piece along with the raw edges of the waist and strap edges. You will have five layers of fabric at the starting point. Stitch the waist band all the way around the waist, overlap just a little bit when you get back to your starting point, and finish. 

Flip your dress right side out...

...and try it on! There are a few ways to wrap the straps. Go to the two links above for ideas. 

And now...take a bow!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Paperback Book Swapping

One of the ways I reduce stress and transition from day to night is to read. I have been reading before bed for most of my life. My parents always read before bed, and I took to it so much that it is simply what I do. It is part of the routine. And I love it. It takes me away for a while.

The other day, a friend of mine posted on Facebook about this website called PaperbackSwap. It is a place for people to go to offer and request used books. The books come from members all over the country, who are simply looking to trade. The service is completely free. When someone requests a book from you, you pay for the shipping costs. When you request a book, the sender pays the shipping costs. An added bonus (I LOVE this) is that you can set up an account on the site and print the shipping label at home, even if it's over 13 oz. And the paper with the shipping label on it becomes the wrapper! Too easy.

Anyhow, I think it's great. I have had 3 book requests within the two days I've been a member, and I've requested two. You receive a credit, good for 1 book, after listing 10 that you have for offer, and for each book that you send out. You use one per request. You can also list or request hard cover books and audio books. (audio books "cost" 2 credits.)

Oh, and if you're looking for a book not currently listed by a member, you are placed on a waiting list, and you can see what number you are in line for each book.

It's worth checking out: PAPERBACK BOOK SWAP

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mothering Magazine Has A New Blog

Mothering Magazine has a new blog, and they want to get the word out. So go check it out! If you've ever checked out Mothering Magazine, you know that it focuses on natural parenting and is a fantastic resource. I receive it myself, and have been a reader for quite a while. In return for spreading the word on their new blog, they mention your blog in return. So in return for helping a great group of folks spread some great information, you get a little free advertising for your blog. Well worth it, methinks!

Here's the link to their blog: MOTHERING


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

GAPS Progress

I have decided to keep a log of my progress with the GAPS diet and how I am feeling. Maybe not so interesting to you, but it will help to keep me motivated and organized with all of this.

Just to add to the mix, I have also started taking B-complex vitamins. I am already taking a probiotic once a day, calcium, vitamin D, multivitamins and fish oil.

Day 1: One slice sprouted grain bread. Not on GAPS, but eaten prior to commitment. Coffee with non-dairy creamer and honey. Canned chicken noodle soup. (also eaten before commitment) hummus and vegetables for lunch. Pork and turnip greens for dinner. Guacamole with veggies for evening snack.

Feeling: I slept very long and well last night. Felt baseline tired. Better than the complete exhaustion I have been feeling.

Day 2: Coffee with creamer and honey. Black beans with seasonings and olive oil. Banana Lunch - asparagus with seasoning, almonds. Oranges. Dinner - hubby loves me! He made a fantastic salad with turkey and swiss cheese, and lots of veggies and a fermented dressing! YUM.

Feeling: DS woke up hungry just after 4am. Went back to sleep with him from about 6am-7:30am. Tired from that. But not feeling miserable. Doing well with diet today. A little bit of energy/enthusiasm. A little. But that's an improvement!

Day 3: Coffee with milk today (ran out of creamer) I hate milk, so I only used a little. I also dislike this honey, bleh. Great way to wean. (ha) Breakfast - left over fabulous salad from last night. Delicious and filling. Mid-morning snack - almonds. Lunch - swiss cheese slices, yogurt (just read that this is contraindicated, whoops), one taste of peanut butter before I realized it had fillers that aren't ok), red grapes. Snack - grapes, cheddar cheese. Dinner - Hubby made GAPS friendly chili. YUM. Feels good to feel full after dinner. I seem to have trouble achieving that during the day now.

Feeling: Started off pretty well. My spirits seem to be rising. I'm actually thinking of some fun stuff we could do today instead of dreading the day. Not bounding with enthusiasm, but not hating my fate, either. Progress. Day filled with friends = fun and good spirits all around. I'm starting to get that hungry feeling that comes with any diet. I hate that. But hubby is bringing home more nuts and nibbles. Hope it helps. Bonus: the kids eat more healthy snacks as a result of this diet. Getting weird periodic BO every day for the last 3 or 4 days. It happened once before several days ago. Doesn't seem to be due to heat or anxiety. Part of my imbalance. Embarrassing. Comes and goes seemingly randomly.

Day 4: Breakfast - Coffee, canned chicken (supposed to be fresh or frozen,,,,babysteps!) with celery and a little fermented dressing, almonds, melon. Lunch - seasoned white navy beans and canned beets (supposed to be fresh or frozen, oh well) A small square of cheese, unknown type. I am full, and so happy to be!

Feeling: Hungry. Tired today, but a more normal SAHP tired. DS has been sleeping restlessly. He has a tendency to not want to eat at dinner time, so he wakes up hungry during the very early morning. Hubby really pushed him to eat last night, so he slept better, but was up before 7am after conking out a little early after having no nap yesterday. Feeling that I need a break from the kids. =( Feeling quite a bit better after eating lunch. I am full, and my mood is a bit better. Still don't feel like tackling the world, but I'm WILLING to. Ended up spending hours outside at a park, which was great. Need to do more of that. Still very tired coming home, but pleased with the day. BO again... weird. But the bloating I was getting after eating anything before GAPS has not returned at all.

Day 5: Breakfast - coffee, small amount of scrambled eggs. Seasoned navy beans with cheddar cheese. Lunch - swiss cheese (quite a bit), almonds Dinner - take-out BBQ. I ate various meats and collard greens.

Feeling: Sluggish start. DD not feeling well. Another day inside. Sighs. I am feeling very grateful for my husband. He has been so helpful with this diet! He is cooking GAPS friendly meals for me every night. Yesterday I mentioned to him that I am feeling conflicted about whether to stick with the diet on our vacation next week or not. He responded immediately that there would be many options for me, and that if it would help, he would follow the diet with me as well. Wow! I really went from feeling like I might forget the diet for the week, to feeling regained confidence that I should stick with it. Thank you hubby! =) Spent the afternoon in the house while DD watched tv, then fell asleep. Feeling content.

Day 6: Breakfast - Coffee w/creamer and honey, navy beans, cheddar cheese, fermented dressing. Some banana. Content. Lunch - Subway sub without the bread! Basically a salad, with turkey, cheese, and tons of veggies, including hot peppers. Yummy. Didn't use dressing. Snack - swiss cheese Very full. Dinner - King crab! with butter. asparagus

Feeling: Frenzied. Kids are very needy this a.m. Crisis cleaning for DD's guest. Tired, even after conking out very early with the kids. Pretty good day. Needy DD, but happy with a play date. Got out for an hour by myself - most lovely. I think I'm gaining weight!

Day 7: Breakfast - Coffee (read the GAPS foods list a little more carefully yesterday and realized that coffee is on the list!!! It's supposed to be weak, but hey, it's on there!!! So it's only the creamer that is a no-no.) Seasoned navy beans with cheddar cheese. Lunch - more beans, canned chicken, a little fermented dressing. It was at lunch today that I started to add hubby's bone broth (beef) to my food. I tried drinking it but didn't prefer it that way. Snack - bananas and peanut butter. Dinner - a huge pile of string beans, corn with butter, salad with cheese added and fermented dressing. Bone broth in there, too. Just getting small amounts now. I'll have to get used to it. It's good, just bland. Better mixed in. Evening snack - melon

Feeling: Not bad. I actually got up before the rest of the family and had a few (very few, but I'll take it!) minutes to myself. I hate Mondays in general, and always start the week off with a deep sigh, but all things considered, I feel pretty good. Spend the morning at the park. Kids were happy - me too. Home to watch a movie, put the kids in the tub, and basically hung out. Pretty content. Mood has been unusually positive today. (for lately. I am a positive person, just not lately.)

Day 8: Breakfast - coffee, a coupla pistachios, chick peas (can I have that? Shoot...I think not maybe. Only had one bite) Nope, threw it out! Try again. Nuts, cheese. Blah. Lunch - lettuce mix, swiss cheese, bone broth, fermented dressing. Tired of the dressing flavor now. Need a break from it. Very surprising how full I am after one bowl of salad with no veggies added! I was hungry, too. The fullness was more like bloating, which lasted a while, then went away. Weird! Snack - popcorn with butter and salt Dinner - Chicken Tangene (chicken, onion, olive oil, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, olives, pepper) polenta (just looked on the foods list for corn, I"m not supposed to be eating it! I've been eating corn on the cob, popcorn and now polenta. SHOOT! =( lentils, (beef stock, curry powder) Very good, filling meal. Wish I'd realized about the corn.

Feeling: Tired, blah. Kids being basically good, but resistant to getting out. Annoying. Got out, kids happy. I felt better being out, too. Kids were very good at grocery store. Kinda blah, but doing ok. Afternoon inside, which is ok. Slowly getting things done. Tired. We ended up spending the afternoon in. The kids watched a lot of tv. Still kinda tired.

Day 9: Breakfast - coffee. Seasoned lentils. Lunch - canned chicken, seasoned lentils, bone broth, hot sauce. Hated it, threw most of it out. Pineapple. Snack - swiss cheese, celery with peanut butter.

Feeling: Tired. I had trouble falling asleep, which is very unusual for me these days! Weird. Also, lots of my "symptoms" presenting this morning. Itchy scalp, bloated feeling after supplements, carpal tunnel flare up. Into the afternoon, tired and bored of the summer (non) routine. Kids, too. Went out for a bit. Stomach so empty it hurt. Had a snack upon return. Stomach bloated and uncomfortable, don't feel full. Not a happy body today. Not a happy mood today, either.

Day 10: Breakfast - Coffee, banana, swiss cheese. Lunch - seasoned black beans (not on good foods list OR bad foods list, so I'm eatin' 'em!) kiwi, seasoned asparagus. A bit of pear. Left over coffee from this a.m. Happy with my lunch. Snack - swiss cheese, peanut butter Dinner - salad with veggies and dressing. Peanut butter. Blah. Tired of this diet.

Feeling: Worn down, the usual. But getting excited for our trip. Nice to feel excited about anything. Belly has been feeling a little weird. Hungry, then overly full after I eat. Not enjoying that aspect of this. But I feed myself better at some meals than others, too. Mood is fair - pretty good. Evening - a little irritable, just want to be home. Getting annoyed with the diet. Unsatisfied.

Day 11: Breakfast - left-over salad. Lunch - canned chicken with onion, pepper and peas. Good.

Feeling: Mixed. I slept long last night. I'm always tired and I am today. Lots to do today...feeling excited for trip but I HATE packing. Ok with diet today so far. While the weird random body odor has seemed to stay away for a day or two, I am getting hot flashes! Could it be? Or is it PMS? Sighs.

I quit the diet. I miss carbs. I don't feel any more awake or any less symptomatic, and I'm going on a cruise in two days, and I don't want to be on a diet while cruising. If I really felt it was making any kind of difference, I would be motivated, but I don't, and I want to enjoy myself while on vacation. If that seems like a cop-out, I'm sorry. But I feel good about it. The only difference I felt was the addition of hunger pangs to all of my other *stuff* and that sucked. Anyhow, that's the deal. Cheers! (raising my NON-GAPS bottle-o-booze!!)

GAPS Diet - Healing Myself Through Food

I am putting myself on the GAPS diet.

For those unfamiliar, here is the LINK to the GAPSdiet page. In a nutshell, it's a diet designed for those with digestive issues, and it is supposed to "heal" the gut, so that over time, a person is able to tolerate foods that they cannot currently.

I am using it for other reasons. I have become so worn down that I find I cannot enjoy myself. I have little energy, little enthusiasm. I have a rash on my scalp that I am unable to get rid of. I have body odor for no reason. I could easily fall asleep at just about any time of the day, including just after waking up in the morning-even after a "good" night's sleep. I have been feeling bloated often, typically after eating, even if it's a small amount.

And that just ain't me. I miss feeling good! I want to wake up psyched every day. I want it back!

I believe we can make ourselves feel better as long as we have some clue as to how to get there. For some reason, obvious things can be so hard to achieve. Exercise makes us feel better. Duh. Do I exercise? Hardly. Eating garbage will likely make us feel like garbage. Do I eat garbage? I do. Staying inside all day can make us feel down and unmotivated. Do I spend a lot of time inside? I do! It's hard to change!!

But feeling like this stinks, and so I am motivated. My only indulgence over the last two days has been my morning coffee, which includes non-dairy creamer and honey. Yes, badbadbad, but it's a process. (I know, I always say that, but c'mon, I can't deal with a diet change and caffeine withdrawal all at once - I will fail!) Other than my coffee and one slice of sprouted-grain bread yesterday morning (before I had decided to commit to this,) I have eaten only what is on the Recommended Foods list on the GAPS diet website. And by some miracle, I actually feel full and satisfied. At least at the moment. I hate diets. Make no mistake! I am always hungry, which I hate. But the one thing I like about the GAPS diet is that there is a long list of foods that are ok. It's much easier to refer to that than to try to eliminate one or two things from my diet, such as gluten or milk.

So here goes nothing. I feel that I can only go up from here! I will blog my progress, for anyone interested. And for motivation.

And I am most fortunate (as I do not like to cook) that hubby really enjoys cooking, and is enthusiastic about making bone broths, which are strongly recommended for this diet.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Adrenal Fatigue

I have been searching for the reason(s) that I am so tired, some times down, and have a general lack of energy. One concept keeps popping up: Adrenal Fatigue.

This concept was first suggested to me by a couple of the members of the Holistic Moms Network. In a nutshell, the idea is that being a stay-home parent and being "on" ALL the time puts a tremendous amount of strain on the adrenal glands. Meeting the demands of every member of the family, plus all of the other responsibilities that come along with the job basically puts the body in "alert" mode all the time, with little time to recharge. Over time, the adrenals basically burn out. One of women that I communicated with about this from HMN blogged about her experience HERE. It pretty closely explains where I am.

Then today I did a Google search with this in the search box: "exhausted, down, no energy." One of the results was a website which caught my eye. It is called NaturalNews.com and the article is called: The hidden dangers of caffeine: How coffee causes exhaustion, fatigue and addiction It basically says exactly the same thing, only the culprit is caffeine. Caffeine causes ups and downs (we all know this, we drink it for that up!!) and when the "down" comes, often time we reach for more coffee or other stimulant to bring us back up. The result is the same, the body is given that fightfightfight signal constantly. Eventually the adrenal glands get fatigued and worn out. 

Both of these situations cause exhaustion, fatigue, lack of energy, depression, and so forth. 

And so, here I am, a stay-home parent who is "on" all the time, and who has been drinking coffee every morning (and sometimes afternoon) for years. Such an easy thing to test. Reduce the caffeine and find ways to unwind. Ok, so it's not easy. But it's something I can try on my own, and it could make a huge difference. 

Along with the B-complex vitamins I just got! ;)