Category Archives: Diet

In Some Ways, On Some Days

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I need for people to see that I never gave up. That I did the best I could with what I was given. My goal is not to be useful or worthy or successful, but to do what God put in front of me to do. I refuse to be less than that. I have battled and when I say battled, I mean, battled physically, emotionally, and spiritually to just be where I am today. I give no credit to the enemy of our souls, but in some ways and on some days, I’m thankful for the battle. I’ve never been stronger. Even on the days that I don’t fill my water glass to the top because I don’t have the strength to lift that much weight to my mouth and I have to take a nap after I take a shower, I thank God that I can and do win in the end. There’s not a doubt in my mind that I am healed. I don’t understand why I still have to battle. I know the scriptures say that He bore my sickness and carried my pain (Psalms 107:20) and that I have abundant life (John 10:10) and that His Word is life and healing to all my flesh (Proverbs 4:20-22) and that He bore my sins in His body on the tree, so I’m dead to sin and alive unto God and by His stripes I am healed and made whole (1 Peter 2:24, Romans 6:11, 2 Corinthians 5:21). I know all this in my heart. Some say we need to remind God of these scriptures and I don’t buy into that. (Like I can educate the Creator?) God’s memory works just fine. We’re the ones that need reminding. If we reminded ourselves as much as we look at our phones, think of where we’d be.

Confucious said “It doesn’t matter how slowly it goes as long as you don’t give up.” In my opinion, this whole health journey I’ve been on has taken way too long and I’d happily take a pill to make me better any given day, side effects or not, but that isn’t what God has planned. If it was, I’d have those pills in my medicine cabinet and they’d be on some auto-refill plan. I won’t give up. I’ll get discouraged every now and then because God made me into a human being, not a robot, but I won’t give up. I will not quit.

When you see me at the gym, that’s me not quitting. Do I feel like being there? Probably not. Do I feel better when I’m done? You bet. Will I pay for it for the next couple days? Maybe. When you see me at the grocery store trying not to lose it with 2 kids, reading labels and identifying what doesn’t have gluten, corn, dairy, eggs, soy, legumes, and GMOs in it because my body can’t handle those, that’s me not giving up. Even though I’d rather just collapse with a bag of chips and ½ a dozen donuts. When I have to say no to meetings or group get-together’s or church functions or birthday parties everyone’s having, that’s me not quitting. That’s me knowing myself well enough to know that I  am the only one protecting my energy reserves, knowing full-well that they are easily depleted if not tended to properly. I will not give up and I will not back down. THIS is how I fight my battles. 

Prayers for all who battle “invisible illnesses” today and those who support them in so many ways. 

Clear Skies and Confirmation

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“Many times when people are recovering from illness, they follow a strict diet that brings balance back into their eating habits. Find balance in all you do, and keep the enemy away from your door.” Joyce Meyer 

This was in my devotional reading today. This statement makes me feel so adult. I don’t typically read devotionals, which my mom finds hilarious since I’ve assisted in writing one. It’s just always seemed so disciplined and routine to me. I’m not really a routine-kinda gal and it’s not because I don’t want to be. I try to keep routines. In fact, I have one hanging in the kitchen, I just forget to look at it. My day would run so incredibly smoothly if I could only do step 1 first, then follow it with the other steps! It doesn’t happen this way, but that doesn’t keep this ADD gal from striving for just that. 

I’ve been tackling this autoimmune stuff with diet lately and I’m in my third month of the autoimmune protocol diet. This game plan avoids eggs, nuts, seeds, chocolate, soy, dairy, sugar, gluten/wheat, rice, oats, legumes, nightshade veggies (potatos, tomatos, eggplant, peppers), food additives like guar gum and carrageenan, NSAIDS (medications for pain such as ibuprofen/acetaminophen), and alcohol (haven’t touched the stuff since March 12th, 2009. Thank you Jesus!) This is not a diet to lose weight, although I am. It is a healing diet, a somewhat of a system reset, then reintroductions of certain foods to identify if they have a negative effect (I.e. inflammation) within my body. It’s very difficult. It requires discipline and focus. 2 concepts I have yet to master on any level. I’ve prayed for God to heal me like He did the woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9:20-22, Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48) In fact, I’ve imagined myself touching his clothes as He walked by and feeling magnificent! And there have been times that I have literally felt so good I can’t even describe it, but they are very short-lived, as in a-few-minutes-short. I believe that it’s coming one day and if He didn’t have a good reason and a plan, I’d be in perfect health. After all, I was the one who trashed this temple of mine for quite a few years. Seems only fair I’d experience some consequences somewhere along the way.  

This venture has been a long one in my mind, although I know I have it much better than some. There’s a tendency in this journey to become self-pitying, especially when you’re not eating anything other human beings eat. But today, today is a new day, with new mercies and clear skies. I’m thanking God for His unique ability to give us signs that we’re on the right track, no matter how rough that track may appear. 

CFS/ME-Not Me

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Let me start out by saying, Bluh. It’s been a rough ol’ week. I have had quite a few symptoms come back on me and not to give anyone credit that doesn’t deserve it, but it seems he’s winning. (I know Who wins in the end. It’s the getting there that concerns me today.)

Myalgic encephalomyelitis is the new and improved name (or addition to the name) for chronic fatigue syndrome I hear. I wouldn’t know that except for the fact that I had to do some research as I’ll be trying the Paleo diet to improve my, uh, condition. I hate that it’s back to a condition, but it seems to be. I have muscle pains, headaches, dizziness, light-headedness, and extreme fatigue that renders my arms and legs useless at times. When this all began, I was at work, writing some paperwork, and I watched as the pen fell out of my hand and I was unable to pick it  up. This was right before I “passed out,” I didn’t lose consciousness, but I had what looked like petit seizures.
Here lately, I have been looking into blood sugar and hypoglycemia influences. If I take a few glucose tablets, which I bought for myself (I’m my own guinea pig) then my symptoms almost all but disappear and I am suddenly functioning like a human being again. I know nothing about blood sugar, but I do know that hypoglycemia can be caused by adrenal fatigue, which is what my symptoms look like, as the thyroid medication I was on never helped with my symptoms and made me “feel like a brand new woman” like the nurse promised. I’m on this journey and it is my prayer that I will know more within the next few weeks. It’s my goal to help someone out there with all of this, not to simply whine about symptoms.

Tin Wonder Woman

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A chronic illness is a rough thing to deal with. There, I forewarned you just in case you ever decide to tackle one. Maybe that’s part of the issue: I didn’t get to decide. Had I been given a choice, I think I would’ve chosen something different. Maybe something a little more physically obvious…or a little less noticeable when it really hits…no, I don’t think that would’ve been a good decision to place on my shoulders. I’ve tried changing my diet in any way you can imagine, from less meat to no meat to more veggies to starchy veggies to 6 meals a day to 3 meals with snacks. I have gulped down and sometimes chewed my smoothies, as I read that this was more beneficial for the enzymes in your stomach, (this makes you feel a bit stupid, by the way) for weeks on end. I’ve attempted exercise from Hip Hop Dance parties to yoga to Tae Bo to situps to walking to sitting. Sometimes getting up and fixing a peanut butter sandwich is all the exercise I can muster for the week. (I’ve also eliminated legumes, including lentils and peanuts, from my diet for awhile in case anyone was thinking this could be the cause of my troubles.)
I’ve prayed, “God! Where are you?? Why do I still have to deal with this?? Haven’t I given you enough time to fix it?? Are you even working on it?”

I’ve thought things like, “Maybe I haven’t read my Bible enough…or prayed enough…or learned what I needed to yet…after all, this HAS to be a life lesson of some sort and I’m pretty smart, so it should take no longer than 3 years to become a lesson of the past.”
There have been many “A-ha!!” moments throughout this journey, such as, “Oh! Have you had your Vitamin D levels checked?” leading to another trip to the dr (there was a time I was there every single week to report symptoms, barely able to sit up in the chair for lack of energy.) Then, “A-ha! My Vitamin D levels are low! A weekly pill will alleviate all of this!” I grin all the way to the pharmacy thinking “Thank You God! I knew you could pull me through! I knew I just had to trust you!” And here I sit, pains, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches just as abundant as they ever were. My body gives out to a point where I can’t move. My muscles fail me and I sit as though I have no abilities whatsoever, not even a smile. There are times when I couldn’t lift my head or my arm to reach a drink if I were in the Sahara desert. There are times when I’m sure my head will spontaneously combust and my husband will be left to pick up the pieces…literally and figuratively. There are times when my joints hurt so much I feel like a Tin Woman who needs oil.

“I’ve said all of this to say this” as an old Pastor friend of mine says:
I continue to learn over and over and over that I am not in control. If I was, there would be a lot of things changed. I would mess it up royally I’m sure, but I surely wouldn’t run out of energy to do everything I wanted to do. I’d run, literally, I’d run to the grocery store and leap tall buildings just because I could. I’d never take another supplement again, as there was a time when I was swallowing 40 each day. I’d outplay my kids. I’d show the enemy what I could really do. I wouldn’t find myself crying in pain, but then remembering what my Grandma taught me: There’s always someone who has it worse off than you do. That woman could be laying under a cartoon-like boulder making this statement. I’ll press on. And learn something as I do. Possibly the same lesson God tried to teach me last year at this time but I wasn’t ready to listen. I’ll try to take care of my temple and try not to point fingers and judge others as they do not. I’ll continue to read God’s Word daily and diligently. And I’ll remember that I am so very blessed to have everything that I have instead of focusing on what I don’t. I will remind myself that it is God Who’s got the answers and if He isn’t letting me in on them, then there’s a good reason.

Disclaimer: This is so blatantly honest I almost didn’t post it. I don’t want anyone to think I need a pity-party (maybe a little one some day would be nice) and I would never want anyone to describe me as a complainer. But in an effort to provide myself with free therapy and spend some time seein’ what God has to say to me through the written words on the page, I decided to go ahead and share.

Cuttin’ the Carbs

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“…He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” This Scripture has always been kind of a “duh statement” for me, I guess, until this week. I took it very literally for the longest time: of course we can’t live on bread alone, geez. Can you imagine how obese we would be as a nation if all we ate was carbs? Oh wait…we are obese.

We are fattened up by things that don’t do us a lick of good, whether it be too much food, (bread and otherwise) too much booze, too many drugs, or even 24/7 TV. Anything not in moderation in this lifetime spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E for us, believers and unbelievers alike. We go overboard with everything: cars complete with payments, houses too big for us to clean ourselves, 3 times the amount of food we need at each meal, clothes so that we can look like those we may not even respect, accessories (to match the car), debt…we rack it up quicker than a game of pool.

God’s been showing me lately that all of that is bread. Thick, weighty, fat-laden, socio-economic bread. We cannot live on that alone. If we take the time to look around us, we’ll see how hard people are trying to do just that. (Hollywood, anyone?)

“Man lives.” Everyone’s trying to get a life in some fashion or another. An abundant life where we’re happy, content, and don’t have to work so hard at whatever it is we’re doing. My challenge to you and to myself today is to change our focus. Let’s make a conscious effort of placing it on what God says, because it pertains to us and our lives at this very second. I believe we wouldn’t be able to count the awesome changes in our lives, those around us, and our mindsets. We would see and experience contentment, not just in what we have, but also in what He’s doing and what He’s gonna do!

Enjoy the Joy

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A cup of coffee, God, and a sunrise. That’s all I really need. Everything else that happens today is just icing on a very well-made, HOME-made, cake. (Keep that boxed stuff. It makes my mouth scrunch and my belly button pucker.)
It occurs to me that as I type this (oh yeah, I need a way to write too…whether it’s a paper and pen or the technological version.) how complicated we humans make things. And the irony is, it’s all in the name of convenience and simplicity. For instance, boxed cake. All you do is add oil, eggs, and water I believe. Simple, right? Tasty, riii…weeeeeeeell, kinda.
In doing so, we sacrifice the BEST part of cake…the flavor! My parents and grandparents spoiled me, I’ve learned over the years, by literally making things. Not “dumping” things. We try to convince ourselves that we don’t have the time, but I believe we really do. We can’t “convenience” things so much that we can no longer feel the love in them. As believers, we are to be all about the love.
Sure, we try to convince ourselves that it’s ok, we only have so much time, we only have so much flour, we can’t find that pesky cookbook, and on and on and on. Now, this isn’t a cooking lecture, or a lecture of any kind for that matter. I’m guilty of choosing the health-less, flavor-less, fat-filled, preservative-laden version myself from time to time. It’s more of a reminder that we must take time to enjoy the joy. Your great grandmother took great joy in making things for her family. I believe Betty Schmocker or whoever’s name is on the box has sucked the joy right out of creating something wonderful for your family. We just want to get it done, get it over with, “Is the 30 minutes up?? It’s been 31! The box says 30 minutes! What’s taking this crazy thing so long??”
God wants and needs for us to take time to enjoy not only what He’s created, but also what He’s doing in our lives. If we constantly insist on using the quickest version of everything, whether it be cake or glancing at a couple words found in the Bible and calling it our “Bible study” for the day, we are missing out. We miss out on what God has for us and wants so badly to give us free of charge. Yes, we may be saved, but if we’re always doing the Sara Lee-nient version of things, then we may be missing out on the abundant life God promised (He promised!!!) we could have. (John 10:10) Take time today…and maybe even try a real cake. *wink.

Basic Yellow Cake

Preheat oven to 350°.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (do not sift the flour)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
Vegetable oil
1 stick butter (not margarine), softened
1-tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Cut wax paper to fit the bottom of (3) 9 x 1 1/2-inch round pans. Spray the pans with cooking spray, place the wax paper in the pans and spray the paper.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, mixing well.

Measure the 1-1/4 cups of milk in a 2 cup measuring cup….then add enough vegetable oil to bring the liquid up to 1-1/3 cups.

Add the milk/vegetable oil mixture, butter and vanilla to the flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer on medium to medium-high speed for 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed.

Add the eggs and continue beating an additional 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near center of cake comes out clean, or until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center.

Cool cakes on wire racks for 15 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely.

Frost as desired.

Cooked Chocolate Frosting

Mix together in a large microwave save bowl:
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch; packed
7 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 teaspoon salt

Stir in with a wire wisk : 1-1/2 cups boiling water.

Cook in microwave on high at 1 minute intervals stirring well after each with the wire whisk. As mixture begins to thicken cook at 30 second interval until the mixture is very thick.

Then stir in 6 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of vanilla; stirring until the butter is melted; cool to frosting consistency and frost cake.

If you prefer to cook it on the stove just stir the boiling water into the dry ingredients and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thick and bubbly; remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla.

Armed With Green Tea Bags

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It’s 5 in the am and I can’t sleep…due to my stomach growling. That has been occurring more and more lately and being the educated individual that I am, I determined that it was because I was hungry. I’ve had more than one person tell me I’m looking skinny and this is when I have to stop and evaluate things. There have been some issues with my diet such as being HUNGRY and when I say diet, I don’t mean an “I-wanna-lose-weight-diet” I mean what I eat in general diet. We don’t use the d-word around here much—too stressful and has too many implications to body image. How frustrating that some believe they’ll never measure up, no matter how many times others tell them they’re beautiful. I wonder if God gets sick of tryin’ to convince some that He loves them just the way they are. Flab, flaws, and all. I haven’t written on the topic of my health in awhile and possibly for great reason! All those pesky CFS symptoms went away when I got pregnant and it was wonderful! The typical, everyday pregnancy fatigue was virtually nothing compared to what I had experienced for the past couple years! I had minimal pain and no dizziness…aahhhhh…Here lately, it’s been dizziness, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, and pains…including those weird crawling sensations where I’d bet real money that there was a spider or something equally devastating on my leg.
I saw a rogue specialist, an ex-doctor who now specializes in actually treating individuals at low, low prices, hehehe, and he believes it to be a candida infection (which I’ve looked at before, but gave up on the diet! Silly d-word…ahem, nutrition plan.) a B-12 deficiency, and a buildup of toxins. I’m toxic. Why do I have Britney Spears in my head? Poor girl…I have felt like shaving my head before too, and I guarantee you I would’ve done it had there been cameras following me around 24/7. Aaaaaand back to topic…
I described my symptoms, dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle spasms, pins and needles, memory loss, and he said it was a textbook b12 deficiency. Textbook? ME? Really? Another aaaaahhhhh…I’ve been convinced that I was deficient of some vitamin for a while now, but you can only take so many supplements. I was up to 40 a day at one point, that would be my all-time best, er…worst? All-time high anyway. I don’t wish to go back there as I felt as though that was all I got accomplished and with a small child, that luxury is no longer affordable.
The “prescription” was to go on the yeast-free nutrition plan (I remembered! Take that, d-word!) take a high potency B-12 vitamin, get on a 66 billion string, strand, strang, whatever of probiotics, and drink green tea like it’s a serious business. This is what I’ll be doing for the next few weeks. I hope to report back and not feel as though I’ve been hit by a Mack truck after typing.