Thursday, April 2, 2009

Unexpected Fruit (edited)

I've mentioned briefly here and here that we have made changes and are still in the process of making more changes to the way we eat.

After much prayer and with peace in our hearts, we started drinking raw milk on February 11th, 2009. At the same time we stopped eating all fast foods and started buying as much organic produce and meats as possible (for everyone this time... I had changed a lot of how I ate as part of adrenal gland recovery a year+ prior but that is another story).

When I got the Nourishing Traditions book (MAJOR eye-opener) I started to, slowly, cook our foods differently.

I now do things like soak our flours prior to cooking, I buy flourless sprouted whole wheat bread ( I love Dave's Killer Bread--Baby blue label) and have increased our raw foods.

I hope to have my own mill one day so I can go back to baking our own bread but until then Dave's does nicely.

I've mentioned before that we've always been butter people. After reading about margarine I can't believe they don't have to label it with a warning for consumers the way they do alcohol and tobacco. It leaves me speechless.

I did do the yogurt butter for one or two containers a few years ago but dropped it.

Hmmm, what else?? Oh! How could I forget! The biggest change was eliminating virtually all refined sugar and all high fructose corn syrup and dramatically reducing the processed foods.

I scoured the refrigerator and cabinets and read every, single label.

Commercial BBQ sauce? 2nd & 3rd ingredients= High Fructose Corn Syrup and corn syrup. Gone.

Bottled salad dressings? Most were tossed. I did keep the Ranch but we never ate it and Andrea just "invented" a recipe that should replace that!

I also got rid of a good two-pound stash of Taco Bell hot sauce packets. Although I do miss reading them (they made me laugh) I do not miss the migraine I would end up with.

There are a few things left in the house that are slowly disappearing. The Captain and I grew up in Filipino homes where you don't just throw away "perfectly good" food. We are just using what we have in the house to slowly wean our children from things like boxed cereals and boxed mac n' cheese. I don't anticipate purchasing those items again. We're still praying about the occasional box of Annie's... We know that in order for these changes to stay they need to be done very purposefully, consistently and lovingly.

For now, I look at their meals for the day and the overall week and try to balance out the few processed things they may have so that they have 80% or greater meals we would describe as healthy--good fat, protein, carbohydrates mainly from vegetables and fruits, whole grains but no refined sugar, artificial colors or preservatives.

In other words, our 7 year old can spell all the ingredients. He's our gauge :)

Now there are lots of websites and books and information about how to eat and live out this lifestyle. I will be sharing a few resources at the end.

This isn't a foodie blog but food is (thankfully) a part of our "Everyday" experience and my desire is to share how the changes we have made have changed our family and even our schooling experience and, of course, encourage you to pray and seek the Lord to see what He would have you do with the information I share.

So, wow, where do I begin...

The last time that I had a full-blown migraine was on December 6th 2008. I know because I blogged about it here.

And by full-blown I mean I cannot function, I am usually vomiting uncontrollably to the point of dry heaves and I require at least three different medications and/or a trip to the emergency room for IV fluids.

Since December I've had "little" migraines and starts of various headaches but I've been able to nip them in the bud and determine their cause.

That is until February. Somewhere around the end of February I noticed I wasn't reaching into the cabinet for Motrin everyday and my stash of Maxalt was untouched.

(I just went to the cabinet and checked. I refilled my Maxalt on December 22, 2008. I have only used one dose. I usually use most, if not all, of the nine doses in one month. Very excited!
*** Edited to add: I found the ninth dose-- I had pulled it out and put it in my nightstand)


Then in March the same thing. No headaches. Except for two days.
I traced it back, both times, to something I ate that I shouldn't have.
A bottled salad dressing one day (Can we say Hy-dro-lyzed boys and girls?) and a cookie made with unbleached all-purpose flour the other.

I took an enzyme that breaks down wheat to keep from getting a bigger headache and started implementing more "soaking" of whole wheat flours (which starts the break-down process so it's not so hard on your digestive system).

My whole wheat foods like waffles and pancakes and muffins have an amazing texture and are not hard or "brick" like in any way. In the past I stayed clear of using whole wheat because of the density, texture and taste. The tips and recipes in Nourishing Traditions have all been amazing. Every single thing I've tried has been good.

So what? Our food is tasting good, my headaches have stopped.

What is really the food?

March 28th.

( I do have permission to share this--no worries, Leisl is cool, seriously)

March 28th was Leisl's first day of her menstrual cycle for that month. She has been menstruating since October 2007 and is now pretty regular.

What was amazing about this month is that I didn't know she was going to start that day.

I always know when she is about to start.

Why? Because I keep such careful and close track of her cycle? I do but that's not why.

I always know when she is exactly two weeks away from starting because she has dramatic PMS symptoms in relationship to who is she normally.

There have been some moms out there that see her in her PMS state and have commented that their daughters are like that normally.

But that's not Leisl.

Leisl wakes up happy and is quick to hug and kiss whomever she can find. She's helpful. She is very kind to her siblings (yes even when I'm not around... I know because other people tell me).

Ah, but two weeks before she starts... she gets a little,... clip in her voice. She's a bit fatigued in the mornings. There is a general beginning of... sour face, if you will.

And slowly over the next two weeks it increases. Irritation at brother and sister. Lots of loud breathing. Did I mention the sour look on the face?

At this point, she is mainly causing her siblings problems.

But we're not there yet.

However, two days before she starts, if I call her name, I often don't receive the customary and very much expected, "Yes?" or "Yes Mom?"

Oh no... I get,


Excuse me?

More insistently and now whining, "Whhhuuuutttt?"

EXCUSE ME?! I know you are not talking to me?

(See I grew up in Southeast San Diego, in the 'hood, you know--bars on the doors and windows, graffiti on the fences, cops at school-- that's were I grew up. I do ghetto well. Anyway, I don't often slip into the "speech of my youth" unless I am

#1) Back in San Diego

#2) With my family from San Diego

#3) With friends that I feel very comfortable with and I know will "get it" and finally

#4) If I am at all feeling pentecostal, I'm sorry... it just comes out.

Oh my where was I? Oh yea, getting hoodie with my sassy daughter.

At our house, a child (or adult) may not say, "What?" as a one word sentence.
You may use "What" as part of a, "What would you like me to do right now?"
"What are we having for dinner tonight?"

But, "What?" just as a sentence. Oh no.

"What?" reeks of independence, rebellion and disrespect.

If I call one of my children and they don't hear me, they say, "Excuse me?" or "Pardon?"

If I call their name they answer, "Coming Mom (or Dad)!" or "Yes?"

If they are distracted or temporarily have lost their senses and reply, "What?" which to my ears sounds like, "Whut?" they will get one, one "Excuse me?" reminder from me.

They don't need more than one.

Oh in the past I'm sure one of them tried it but the "rod of correction" was quickly applied to their "seat of understanding." So nowadays they need only a single reminder. We want all our children to be able to submit to and fear God as adults. We want them to receive the blessing promised them if they honor father and mother. By teaching/making them respect us, we help them obey God and His commandments so that it will be well for them.

Whoa, rabbit trail... where was I? Ah, yes... she doesn't usually need more than one reminder to say, "Yes?" instead of "What?"

Except two days before she starts her period.

Little Miss Sunshine disappears on us and is replaced with Sour Face Grumpy Girl.

Okay now she's messing with me.

Not a good idea. See above rabbit trail.

We have been in teaching mode for the last year. "Leisl I understand that you are PMS'ing. It's good we know why but it is not an excuse for poor behavior."

We come up with strategies to help her cope.

She has to apologize to everyone... a lot.

She has to "practice" saying and doing the right things so her flesh is trained. I understand the hormone/period thing is new to her so in a way we started right back at the beginning, like when she was a feisty toddler and preschooler.

In our house, if you say or do something wrong, it is not enough to mumble, "sorry" and move on with your life.

No, no. If the sentence came out, "KURT! I told you I didn't want you in my room right now!"

She apologizes, "Kurt I apologize for yelling and hurting your feelings can you please forgive me?"

Then, here comes the practice part. Then she says, "What I should have said is, "Kurt, I'm not feeling well right now and I would be happy to play with you later, but I just need some time to myself. Can you please understand?""

At this point, Kurt's responsibility is to honor her needs and let her be.
If he gets it right with a, "That's okay Leisl I forgive you. Hey, maybe later we can play Legos!" Then it's all good.

If he gives less than that, guess who is practicing next?

You got it-- Kurt.

Okay so there has been a lot of practicing about one week out of every 29-30 days.

By the day before her period rolls around I'm not doing so well.

I pray... a lot. For restraint. For grace. For wisdom. But mainly self-control.

See, I understand the PMS. After Kurt was born my PMS problems had escalated and the only way I can describe it is, "Crazy Mommy came to visit."

Crazy Mommy had to leave and I mean quick.

Kurt was born in April and by August I had a hysterectomy.
My life verse at that time was Matthew 18:9:

And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you.
It is better for you to enter into life [Heaven] with one eye,
rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

My uterus was causing me to be angry and sin. It had to go. Thankfully a hysterectomy was also medically necessary because I could soak through a super tampon worn with an overnight pad in an hour, every hour, for two of the eight or nine days I was flowing. Think "crime scene."

(Sorry to any fellas reading)

I knew she couldn't "help it" but it didn't make it less right. She was going to have to deal with this her whole life. She needed to learn how to cope without making herself and everyone around her crazy.

So we talk, we pray, we cry, we trouble-shoot, we pray some more.
And I get a few more gray hairs and a few hours less sleep.

And every month, usually right before she started, we would have a melt down.

I was irritated. She was irritated.
I felt bad. She felt bad.
I would yell. She would either cry or get more sour faced.
I would chide myself for not being patient enough.
She would beat herself up with guilt.

Then, she would start.
She'd float downstairs like a burden had been lifted from her and she was good to go.
Smiling, laughing and crying all at once.

She apologized. I apologized.
She practiced. I practiced.

(Yes I go back and practice saying and doing the right thing when I blow it with the kids too. This was also how I learned to reverence my husband and honor my mother. Gotta train that flesh, serious)

Anyway, now, whew. We were safe for one more month.

That is until March 28th.

She started her period and my hands weren't mid-air ready to strangle her. I heard no heavy breathing coming from either of us.

There was no, "Whut?" last month.

"Leisl, are you early?"

No Mom, I don't think so.

Hmmm. One, two, three... I count the days. Nope, she's right on time.

What happened? No PMS. Perhaps a very slight irritation in her voice once in awhile but no Sour Girl.

We both realized she felt great this month, even while fighting a very bad sinus infection which would make the cheeriest of people grumpy.

"Leisl, I think it's the food. I haven't had a headache since February."

"Mom! I think you're right! I'm usually so upset with myself because I'm grumpy with these guys (point to little sister and little brother) but I haven't felt any of that! I've felt great!!


Now I know it's only been one cycle for her... but stuff like this isn't just happening at our house. I've asked a couple of ladies to guest post and I hope I can do that soon.
(Kim... Tauni, I'm talking to ya here)

But from what I've been told, decades-long battles with anxiety, depression, fatigue and being overly emotional have been improving or resolving in a matter of weeks with even slight changes in diet.

To quote Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions,

"Clearly something is very wrong, even though many Americans have been conscientious about following orthodox dietary advice. They take exercise seriously, many have stopped smoking, consumption of fresh vegetables has increased, many have reduced their intake of salt and a good portion of America has cut back on red meats and animal fats.

But none of these measures has made a dent in the ever-increasing toll of degenerative disease. We buy foods labeled lowfat, no cholesterol, reduced sodium, thinking they are good for us. Why then are we so sick?"

Good question.

Nutshell-- we've been sold a bill of goods by corporations making a LOT of money selling very expensive, low nutrient, dare I say, poisonous to the human body, "food." And it's a slow death to this nation, ourselves, our children and our children's children.

There is too much to share and talk about for one blog post but this is a start.

In the meantime, I hope and pray you will do some investigating to learn whether or not these things are true. At the end of this post will be some resource links. And I will be sharing more of our story-- both the past and as it unfolds-- when I participate in:

Fight Back Fridays

To investigate further please visit the Weston Price Foundation, The Food Renegade: The Basics, or click here for more information on Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

***But in all this remember it is only the Lord who is perfect and knows all things. Please research and read with a humble mind, listening ears and a discerning heart as to what the Lord would have you do with the information.

We, the Mishmash Family, are acting on what He has given us peace and confidence to do in this season of our life. This would have been a huge burden a few years ago instead of the blessing it is today. I share this information so that if there are those, whom God has prepared, to take a next step nutritionally speaking, you can see and know that it is good.

Let Him guide you. And let His peace rule your hearts.



motherhen68 said...

You have a beautiful family!

This is a great post. I've been consuming fermented foods for about a month and a half now. I knew my period was coming as I was having pre-cramping, but my face was not broken out and my mood, though a bit grouchy, was not the raging maniac I typically am before I start. Aunt Flo's visit was expected but not dreaded LOL.

I did experience relief from PMS symptoms last year when I began to eat low-carb. Continuing to eat LC + adding fermented foods like yogurt, lacto-fermented veggies, and drinking kombucha & kefir only helped out more.

I think Ms. Fallon is certainly right!

localnourishment said...

I am right there with you, but at the other end of the spectrum. When I started going through menopause, I hit a depression very quickly that was deep and wide and about three years long. They tried medicating me for it, and that made it worse.

Since I've been eating a traditional diet, the clouds have lifted. If I had only known about this 40 years ago!

localnourishment said...

I am right there with you, but at the other end of the spectrum. When I started going through menopause, I hit a depression very quickly that was deep and wide and about three years long. They tried medicating me for it, and that made it worse.

Since I've been eating a traditional diet, the clouds have lifted. If I had only known about this 40 years ago!

Mary Lou said...

Thank you for sharing Laine! You have just given me more encouragement to continue on the path set before me. Allergies are wrecking havoc on my family. The list is insurmountable if I were to list it as well as complex. I am on a search to find a "menu plan" that will answer all of the needs in the family which does not require me to make multiple meals at the same meal time! :) I want to continue to enjoy cooking!

IAMmom said...

Lanie, I have been eating gluten free for 4 years now to control my migraines. I have never tested positive for Celiacs I just know that when I eat wheat I get a headache. Does the Nourishing Traditions book address that at all? I am thinking from your post that it may say that it is not the wheat itself but the quality and preparation that is a problem. My DH (I need a cool name for him! He is so much more than DH) is ready to make some changes too. My 8yo seems like she is PMSing all day long and I really believe it is diet related. We have tried to cut out dairy since I know it flairs up her eczema and makes my son's stomach act up but maybe again this is not due to the milk but to the quality and preparation. I guess I am asking if my assumptions about this book are correct and I am looking for a little push to buy it :) said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! What an amazing testimony to the power of eating WELL.

Thanks, too, for joining in today's Fight Back Fridays carnival. What a great entry!

(AKA FoodRenegade)

Lainie said...

Motherhen68 thank you for the compliment... I think they're keepers too :) Thank you for sharing!

Local Nourishment... yes I wish I knew sooner too. I am so glad that there isn't condemnation in Sally's writing...but encouragement to practice forgiveness--for ourselves. We can only do the best with what we have.

For me, I can't NOT act on what I now know. The thought of going back to how we used to eat makes me so sad. I was just telling my husband last night, "I know too much now!" LOL

Mary Lou, I saw you the other night at Athey but I didn't get over to ya for a hug.

Before we started making these food changes we all went to a naturopath that treated all our allergy issues and "reset" our system. Diet change is great but if the basic system of the immune system is out of whack you gotta deal with at some point.
I'll try to answer your email today okay?

Jennifer! Whatsup? So good to see you here & now on FB. Okay so the wheat thing has to do with phytates and there is a ton of good reading in Sally's book... best money you'll spend on a "cookbook" hands down. There are tons of testimonies of people with celiac disease that reversed all that stuff.

Very highly encourage you to get it if you can. It will change you life. Free you and your fam up so your energy is spent serving the Lord.

And yes you are right (I think in email) about it being quality and process. It's about not burdening the body as it works digesting the foods we eat. Better assimilation and stuff like that. It's also about preserving the enzymes that God put in food to help us break it all down.

When we subject our food to high heat and high pressure it not only kills the natural enzymes but it alters the inherent composition of the food often making it toxic.

The PMS thing for your daughter... make sure lots of dark green veggies and make sure she has lots of good fat, like whole milk, if she tolerates it. Whatever you do-- NOT ultra-pasteurized!! Raw preferably, non-homogenized if you can't do raw. If you must do homogenized and pasteurized just don't buy the ultra.

Brains need fat to develop and stay healthy. Fat doesn't create fat in the body... sugars and carbs do.

But of course in everything, wisdom, moderation, etc...

Kristen thanks for stopping by and hosting!

Sandi said...

I too suffer from migraines. I wonder if mine could also be food induced? I know we need to change alot about the way we eat! Thanks for the encouragement.

Looking for something??