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Sunday, April 28, 2013

The end of my Whole 30 or is it?

As you may recall, it was almost 30 days ago that me and my husband began the Whole 30 journey together. In the beginning, it was really hard as I struggled with my cravings for comfort foods. Somewhere during week two though things turned around and I began to feel really good.  Our plan was to finish on April 30th and just continue to eat an 80% Primal diet with some cheat days.  We decided to end on April 27th so we could celebrate my husband's birthday.

Now my husband has a major sweet tooth at times but he also has good self discipline.  He decided awhile back that he was going "all out" on his birthday.  Personally, I didn't really feel like indulging in a bunch of junk but I agreed to his dinner request for pizza.  In addition, I sampled a few of the sweets he brought into the house on this "binge day".  Wow, we were both miserable and the sounds and smells coming from my husband were unpleasant to put it politely.  We both agreed that we enjoyed how wonderful we felt on the Whole 30 and with the exception of adding some organic dairy, we plan to continue.

Here are just a few of the benefits I encountered:
1. I lost 7 pounds all the while gaining muscle!
2. My hair changed.  It is really odd but the texture became very flowing and shiny.
3. My complexion cleared some
4. My bathroom schedule was very predictable (I know TMI)
5. I had close to zero stomach issues. My only issue was if I ate eggs every day
6. I never caught a single virus that my kids brought into the house (and they brought several)
7. I learned how often in the past I would just sample my kids foods or finish their plates when they were done.  All of this really added up as I fought off my temptations in doing so.
8. My toddler ate almost all Paleo foods and has no more stomach problems
9. I no longer felt the need to eat any more than four times per day. Previously I was hungry every 2-3 hours.
10.  I just felt wonderful!

So how can I not continue?  Me and my husband both agree that if we really crave something, like ice cream, we will do it only once per week on a work out day.  But the way I've been feeling, I doubt I'll be craving much!

So I'll leave you with a few more pictures of some meals I made.

This was a quick and simple lunch.  I stir fried the chicken with coconut oil and fresh pineapple. I baked the sweet potatoes with cinnamon and coconut oil and the broccoli was just steamed.

This was grilled chicken with BBQ sauce (homemade), grilled zucchini and pan fried basa.  We weren't sure we would like the basa but we loved it!  I just breaded it with almond flour, italian seasoning and salt.  I dipped the pieces in egg, flour and then pan fried them in oil.  It was fabulous!

I think I woke up extra hungry this day.  I fried some eggs in the bacon grease and then the zucchini, mushrooms and turnips in the remaining grease.  It was really good.

So there you have it!  Today is the day after our little binge fest and I am so happy to be eating healthy again!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The answer to the misery of math

Today I'm going to take you back to that puzzle I'm working on with figuring out my kiddos and how to best meet their needs. I was recently given another piece of the puzzle to tackle and that piece happens to involve math. You either love math or hate math, in my opinion.

Since the beginning of the school year, Brayden has been in tears over math.  It is the main reason he states for "hating" school.  Yet, none of us could figure out why because he can rattle off math problems in his head. He scores high on his quarterly test for math.  He never had a problem with it until the double digits with borrowing reared their ugly heads.

Both of my kids fell apart with this little twist in their schooling so I ran to my expert, their occupational therapist (OT).  For Teagan, the answer was so incredibly simple.  She has a severe bilateral coordination deficit. She has trouble crossing the midline of her paper. She is a child that writes up the side of the paper because her brain doesn't tell her to go to the next line.  So our OT did a double digit problem with her by highlighting one column so she could see the separation and placing an "X" so that even the single digits were double.  I was shocked.  This simple change made everything click for Teagan and that kid can knock out her math like a whiz.

Brayden's another story.  When you do double digit math, you are no longer just counting, a basic skill learned early on.  There is a process or praxis in solving this type of math.  As his OT explained it, this process starts with an Ideation (picture), then there is the Motor component (plan and organize) followed by the Execution.  So Ideation-Motor-Execution.  Brayden has no problem picturing things but when it comes to planning and organizing, he is at a deficit.  He has difficulty planning what to do and how to do it.  So for him, he can't figure out which side to start with. Then he can't figure out when to borrow.  If you tell him this planning part, he has no problem doing the actual math.

Dys-praxia, basically difficulty planning what to do and how to do it is essentially what frustrates Brayden with school.  His two biggest struggles are math and writing.  Writing requires the same process.  You have a picture in your mind of what you want to write but then you have to plan and organize it before you can execute it.  He can verbally tell you an answer but he struggles at putting it in writing.

So how do you fix all this?  Well, that is the million dollar question.  How do we get him the help he needs to tackle these two areas of school?  Basically  we are back at the first step of more evaluating by the school in hopes of getting more help...ughh!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Whole 30 Update and Menu ideas

As you may recall, I began another Whole 30 meal plan (I hate the word diet) on April 1st and I thought I'd update you on my progress and show you some of my yummy creations.

My first week was very very hard!  My son had his 8th birthday and it was torture to bake and frost cupcakes for him but I did it without a lick.  That first week I lost 4 pounds!  I know most of that is water but it was so nice.  My body fat barely budged so I was disappointed with that.

I just finished week 2 and it has been much easier.  Me and my husband both agree we feel so much better eating a whole diet.  I lost 2 more pounds and my body fat percentage went down almost 2% so I was very excited with that progress.  The other benefit for me has been noticing all the times I finished my kids snacks or just had a small treat throughout the day.  It really adds up and I notice now that I can't have those things. Another benefit has been that Ellie now asks for carrots, cucumbers and apples for her snacks. She rarely eats junk because its not around during the day.

So I've taken a few pictures of some of our meals for you all to see.  I have to use my iTouch right now so I apologize about the quality but I think they still look yummy!

Here you have two ground pork burgers seasoned with cinnamon and salt.  At he advice of a dear friend, we placed them on top of a lightly grilled red pepper and that was outstanding. The greens are spinach and avocado.

Here you have two eggs over medium with sweet Italian sausage stir fried with orange, red peppers and asparagus.  A very tasty breakfast.

This is my quick go to lunch.  It really only takes about 10 minutes.  I stir fry a little chicken in coconut oil and then add tons of veggies with some coconut aminos.  Today, I added pecans and shredded coconut at the end and it was heavenly.

And last but not least is a simple delicious salad.  I have mixed greens, avocado, cucumbers, blueberries and bacon.  I topped it with some oil and vinegar.  It was really simple but delicious.

Hope this gave you some healthy ideas!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why your not getting an iPad - A letter to my son on his birthday

Dear Brayden,

I realize you requested a $500 iPad for your 8th birthday.  I am writing you this letter so that someday you will understand why your parents chose not to get you an iPad today.

1. Instead of an iPad, we chose to buy you a $30 digital drum for your birthday.  You are such a talented artist and we can't help but wonder if you have musicality within in.  For years you have always hummed a tune or had a rhythm coming from your lips and now it is time for you to see if that same rhythm comes from your hands.

2. Instead of an iPad, we chose to buy you a Nerf semi automatic gun. Now I know the grandmas in our family aren't going to appreciate this one but you come from parents who believe in teaching their children how to respect a weapon.  There may come a time in your life where you won't be allowed to have a gun but there will always be Nerf. I think this Nerf is the perfect tool to teach you that you never point a weapon at anything you don't intend to harm.  I also want you to learn that you should never put your finger on the trigger unless you intend to pull it.  You will notice that no one else in your house has a Nerf gun as your mother does not believe you are of an age where combat play with other armed people is appropriate. You must first learn to respect a weapon for what it is.  So for now, feel free to take this "toy" outside and pretend those trees are Ninjas.

3. Instead of an iPad, we chose to buy you Legos.  Now I know an iPad can teach you hand/eye coordination but there is something about three dimensional objects that really reinforces this skill.  You have the mind of an engineer so your teachers tell me. I feel as your mother I need to provide you with the tools to   reinforce this ability. Frankly my sweet boy, your hand writing needs some work too. I thought Legos would be much more fun than writing your name 50 times on a piece of paper.  Given the creatures you've produced today, I'd say it was the right call.

4. Instead of an iPad, we chose to buy you a table top foosball game.  We realize you don't like team sports.  We have no intention of forcing those upon you. We do however feel that you need to learn the benefits of playing on a team.  This game will teach you the rules of this sport while affording you with more hand/eye coordination learning opportunities.  So feel free to play golf all summer but know that you must still learn team sports.

5.  Instead of an iPad, we chose to buy you and your best friends foam swords to practice your Ninja moves in the backyard. Any toy that can get you to move that much is worth every penny!

And most of all,

6. Instead of an iPad, I chose to spend time with you.  This one will be hard for you to understand at the young age of eight but some day you will get it.  You see, if I buy you an iPad for your birthday, then I have to buy your sisters an iPad for their birthdays.  Before I know it you will turn nine and expect the next newest and greatest thing.

Three years ago when your sister was born, I made the choice to spend time with you rather than buy you things which I was so guilty of doing when I worked full time. You see, I could have continued to work and let others aid in raising you, and spoil you with the latest and greatest. But dear Brayden, mommy missed you and your sister. So I hope you don't mind that the selfish mommy in me has decided to stay home and raise you rather than buy you an iPad.

So on your eighth birthday Brayden, you did not get an iPad. Instead you got rhythm, games, and ways to build your hand/eye coordination. You got exercise with your friends and family.

What you may not realize is that you also got a mother who could join you at lunch during long school days, volunteer for field trips and help at class parties. You got a mom who could pick you up from school every day and have hot muffins waiting on the table when you came home hungry.  You got a mom who could nurture you back to health when you stayed home sick from school. You got a mom who could spend every day of the summer exploring, teaching and playing with you.  And finally, my sweet Brayden, you got a mom who will give every  moment of her free time researching, learning, and advocating for what you need to be the most successful young man you can be.  So no, you did not get an iPad, but from the looks of things you don't really need one.

I love you little buddy,

Monday, April 1, 2013

Is the Whole 30 for you?

Some of you may recall last summer when I completed the Whole 30.  What is the Whole 30 some of you may wonder?  The Whole 30 is a way to reset your body from all the junk you've been feeding it so that you can discover what makes you tick.  It is also in line with the Paleo/caveman style diet.  The book we follow, It Starts With Food, does an excellent job of describing how food leads to autoimmune disorders.  So who should do the Whole 30?

First of all, kids with SPD, Autism, severe allergies, asthma, arthritis or any immune related disorder can greatly benefit from this eating plan.  Personally, I do not force this on my older two, but I do strongly encourage and reward them for eating the same as me.  My toddler is pretty much stuck eating what I eat.

The Whole 30 is also for any adult who wants to lose weight, gain energy, and rid their body of autoimmune related disorders.  It is not a cure for anything but you would be amazed at the effect food has on diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, thyroidism and the list goes on.

So how does this diet work.  Well, to keep it simple, you eliminate all dairy, grains, legumes and processed foods.  Sounds impossible to some but once you get the hang of it, it really feels right and becomes much easier. After the first week of misery, you'll find that three meals a day is all you need to feel wonderful.

So me and my husband are starting the Whole 30 tomorrow!  Yikes. I am eating my last taste of cheese tonight for 30 days. But that's it folks.  After 30 days, you get to reintroduce your favorites for two day, then take a break for two and introduce another.  If you find those foods make you miserable, then you know not to eat them.

I thought I would include our meals for the next several days just to give you an idea of how it goes.  I am not including fruit in the meals because I only eat it if I need something sweet.  But for my kids, who don't need to loose weight, I give them a bunch of high carb fruits and veggies.  I also feed them potatoes which is not Whole 30 approved but they love them as french fries and it gives them the carbs they need.

So here is our first few days:

Breakfast - 4 eggs, 4-5 pieces of bacon over spinach  (Gary will do 6 eggs); coffee with coconut cream
Lunch - Very large salad with grilled chicken and avocado; iced tea
Dinner - California style chicken with asparagus, sweet potato and cucumber slices

Breakfast - Frittata with ground pork, asparagus and red pepper
Lunch - Large salad with left over chicken and avocado
Dinner - Sweet potato hash (ground meat, spices and potatoes), broccoli, zucchini sticks

Breakfast - Left over frittata
Lunch - Tuna over salad
Dinner - Burgers wrapped in lettuce, sweet potato fries, kale chips

Breakfast - Eggs, bacon over spinach
Lunch - Left over burgers over lettuce
Dinner - Thai wraps, cauliflower "fried rice"

So how does it sound?  Add a little fruit and your on your way to feeling great!