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Unexpected Roadblock

     One of the reasons we chose to begin our original paleo/primal dietary journey stemmed from the fact that our oldest son had tested as allergic to wheat, oats and mildly to dairy. During our first few months, his food allergy symptoms diminished and we thought that would be the end of it. After some time OFF course, his symptoms have returned. My immediate thought is that the solution would be to just jump back on track and we could straighten him right back out again. However, that is not to be the case.

     Today he went to be retested and along with the old allergies we have a few new ones as well. Peaches, sad but avoidable. Watermelon, boo, as it is one of his favorite foods. Clams, well, he never tried them so he will not know what he is missing. Then came the shockers, moderate allergy to COCONUT and ALMOND.

     Say WHAT???

     Yes, coconuts and almonds. Two very important components of our clean eating habit. Essentially, this means that my carbohydrate craving son can have neither regular bread nor almond or coconut bread. So many of our daily recipes call for these two ingredients. I can easily navigate around the use of coconut oil, I actually prefer avocado oil but to eliminate almonds and almond butter is going to prove to be tricky. 

     What does that mean for us? Well, for the next month per doctor’s orders, neither of these basics will be served from our kitchen. It means digging deeper for alternatives and being willing to try those we find. We can manage that, after all, changing our lifestyle the first time around brought hundreds of new recipes to our table. 

     The good news is that I am sure I have at least one bag of cashew meal in the deep freeze. So, sometime this week we will be attempting to make Cashew Bread! Let the adventure begin!!

Until next time,

Blessings,

Mama V

     

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Day Three

Here we are, day three. Hooray for carbohydrate, sugar, grain withdrawal….NOT! Seriously, who wants to suffer through this? Oh, wait, that would be ME! I do! Well, kind of. What I truly want is for this self-imposed suffering to END and it will. I have survived it numerous times before and I will survive it again. Still,  there is a large part of me, though I dislike to admit it, that is still living in the “instant gratification” mindset. Making the return to the healthier me is difficult because it takes SO LONG to see results. I am making better choices again, so let’s see the results! So far, nothing…but that is to be expected. Why do we do that to ourselves? It is unnecessary and yet we all do it, we get frustrated so easily. Patience my friends, the results are on the way. The hubby and kiddos are off to a slower start and are not transitioned back to paleo/primal eating. I know they will get there but part of me is a little bit jealous, just a little part. Let them have their last few indulgences here at home, for now. I am just a little bit ahead of them and I know that when those results start to show it will be easier to get them back to it. Our goal for the boys this time around is a little different, being that they are 14 and 16. We have less “control” over their meals that ever before and this presents battles that, honestly, are not worth fighting. They are expected to be 100% on board when at home beginning next week. When at school, with friends, at church or camp etc. we have given them control over their food choices. It remains to be seen how they will fare with this bit of independence but I have faith in them. I have spent more time in the kitchen this week than I have in months. I still struggle with finding time to balance meal planning, shopping and preparation with a full-time job, full-time college, running the youth group and the never ending list of other obligations. However, it has felt SO GOOD to get back to it and I am determined to stick with it. I just have to keep reminding myself to take it one meal at a time. =o) Until next time… Blessings, Mama V

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Day One is Over and Done…

     Whew! We survived clean eating day one, again! I do not know why, but it gets harder and harder to ‘start over’ after we stray for any length of time. I have researched health, wellness and food choices enough to know that the foods most Americans are eating are unhealthy, addicting and dangerous, yet I continually find myself amazed at the hold unhealthy food has over us individually.  

     It is not difficult to prepare healthy, clean meals at home. It is more not time-consuming. It is not more expensive. So, what is our fascination with junk food and drive ins? Is it simply that by dinner time we are so exhausted from our chaotic, over scheduled lives that we find it more appealing to grab fast, unhealthy, drive-thru fare? Are we brain washed into thinking that, “it’s okay, just this once” but we forget that ‘just this once’ has happened three out of the previous four days?

     While I believe that the above to be somewhat true, I also believe that we are conditioned into relying on others to feed us. Long gone are the days when the norm was for a family to gather, in their home, around the dinner table at a specific time, with everyone expected to be there. 

     In choosing the “easy route” for obtaining our meals, we are missing out on so much more. Our connection to nature via our food is slipping away. Precious moments spent in the kitchen with family members, creating memories that last a lifetime, are slipping away. Connections to our family, our children, grandchildren and even neighbors are slipping away as we choose to dine in our cars or in front of the television.

      When I reflect upon my favorite childhood memories, they all center on food preparation and meals shared with family and friends. I shudder to think what memories will be most precious to my children, for we have moved out of the kitchen into the drive-thru. Is is not time to reclaim our food choices, our health and, most importantly our families?

     I believe it is time for me to head to the Farmer’s Market to select some good clean foods to prepare with my children this evening. Who knows. maybe I will invite some friends to join us as well. After all, life is short. We can choose to let it slip away or we can choose to spend it around the dinner table with those who mean the most to us. Either way, the choice is yours. What are you waiting for?

Blessings,

Mama V

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Trial and Error and Error and….

Trial and Error and Error and…..

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Trial and Error and Error and….

Well, you get the point. We have strayed far, far, away from our paleo/primal journey in the last year. I am not going to regurgitate the laundry list of ‘reasons’ we have allowed to hinder our journey. We made choices, POOR choices, that have resulted in our regression back to where we began two years ago. 

We have decided to chalk it up to lessons learned and begin afresh. What we discovered during the past two years is that the type of foods we eat MATTER. Portion control alone is not the answer for our family. The types of foods we put into our bodies make a difference, not just in body size but also in our general health, mental health and overall well-being. 

Arthritis, gout, pre-diabetes, migraines, intestinal/gut issues, depression, manic episodes, autistic ‘symptoms”, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, this list could go on and on. These have returned with a vengeance even though we had alleviated (or in some cases, ELIMINATED) them during our previous primal/paleo journey. Each of us balanced our body chemistry only to let it return to their previous chaotic state a short time later. 

Our poor choices end here and the good news is that we can correct the damage that we have done. Our garden has been planted and until we are ready to harvest, the local farmer’s markets are filled to abundance with fresh organic produce and grass fed, free range meats. We are looking forward to reconnecting to nature and to ourselves.

Today, we begin again, again. 

Blessings,

Mama V

 

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Getting back to it….

Well, by that I mean the blogging part of it all. As a family we have stuck to our lifestyle change and are doing quite well. This mom has lost 78 pounds total and dad has lost 50. The children are finding the Primal life a bit more challenging now that they are back to school and tempted at every turn. The good news is that while their losses have slowed, they are maintaining and not gaining. I know that they are healthier and witness them making the right choices often, given that they are 13, 15, and 20…I am still one proud mama. 

After eight months of meat and plant eating, we have discovered that our biggest challenge is access to the foods we WANT to put on our plates. Southeastern Appalachian Kentucky does NOT offer a variety of shopping options and even the more urban areas a devoid of what we are looking for, especially in the winter. 

As we try to eat based on seasonal crops, we have made a shift to increased amounts of citrus fruits, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, parsnips, cabbage, pears, kiwi, brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes (yum). Not only do we get the best of the season, these are priced right this time of year. Soups and stews simmer almost daily, making me ever so glad to have found a “bread” to go with them.

Yes, bread! Gluten-free, yeast-free, GRAIN-free, BREAD! Watch the recipe page to learn more. While I only allow this once or twice a month, it is a wonderful treat on a cold winter day and the perfect accompaniment to any soup especially one of the beef vegetable variety. 

Food has become an adventure in our home as we continue to incorporate new items into our repertoire, surprisingly parsnips were a hit, and our perspective is changing all the time.  What an eye opening, taste bud thrilling journey this has become. Until next time….

Blessings,

Mama V

 

 

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Fasting

Okay, so I know that it has been a while since I posted and I apologize, Summer has been crammed with activities and family time and, after all, it’s quality time with loved ones that matters most in this life. That said, school begins this week for my boys, sigh! I truly cannot believe that the longest summer vacation we have had in YEARS is coming to an end. Someone slow down the clock….please…just not today! Today I wish the minutes would race past with a vengeance. Which brings me to the subject at hand.

I am starving…is it Sunday yet? Though I know we are close, we are not quite there. I guess I should tell you that I have not eaten anything since last Wednesday and that was barely half a meal all day (which is another story entirely). Had I know that would be my last meal for about 85 hours, I may have eaten more, but alas I was clueless.

How does one end up in this predicament? Why through one’s spouse, of course!

Here’s how it played out, Wednesday night after church my husband announced that he had decided to begin a three-day fast. A prayerful journey with God to glean some peace and clarity over some issues that our family is facing at the moment. What a wonderfully devoted family man I married, good for him. Really, I meant that sincerely, until…unfortunately…

Guilt ate at me all evening and into the next morning and by dinner time on Thursday, I still hadn’t eaten either, not because I planned it that way but because I couldn’t access any food that met our new standards. This coupled with some solitary prayer led me to make the decision that if my husband thought this was important for our family, well then, gosh darn it I had better stand with him. (Or kill him for it!)

Day one was nearly over before I made this decision, not too difficult overall. Day two, however, really brought the challenges, invitations to lunch with co-workers were carefully dodged and I survived better than anticipated. Once home again, I could at least escape to the solitude of my bedroom/office to distract myself.

By early morning on day three, today, I was ready to throw in the proverbial towel and ransack the refrigerator,this struggle has endured all day, and I am sure will continue in to the morning when we finally plan to break our fast before heading out to church.

Let me tell you, fasting is tough, especially when you still have to cook for the kids and nephew that is visiting from out of town. I am not complaining, this was a voluntary trial and it is serving me well, but still, it is more challenging than I ever dreamed.

What I want to share with you is some of the thoughts that are keeping me going.

1. I have lost five pounds in three days and I am VERY well hydrated! Woo Hoo! GO ME!

2. There is a nineteen-year old, beautiful young lady in our church who has spent MONTHS not being able to keep food down. She was in the hospital, going without food for DAYS too, when we began this. My heart aches for her suffering, a little part of me is doing this for her, even though she will probably never know that.

3. After grocery shopping today, I had prepare food for a fellowship meal at church tomorrow, ( bowls and bowls of food, UGH! Yet, not one bite passed these lips =D ) I literally could hear my stomach growl over the radio. So I turned down the music and turned to God. During my prayer, I needed to suppress the urge to complain about the wracking, physical PAIN I was experiencing. I never realized before how hunger truly felt and prolonged hunger SUCKS! Just when I thought I could not do this for another minute, the epiphany hit, 80 percent of our planet’s population experiences THIS FEELING on a DAILY basis, 1 in 5 AMERICAN children go to bed at night feeling how I do right now. If that is not humbling and motivational, I do not know what is.

I will easily get through this hunger that I bestowed upon myself remembering that so many suffer because they have NO FOOD at all and prospects for that changing in the near future are grim at best.

To answer my earlier question; Is it Sunday yet? No, not yet, but Sunday is coming and if I so choose, I can eat again. However, I think I may just wait another day of two before I break this fast. I know a homeless family or two that will certainly benefit from my portions better than I ever could.

Anyone care to join me??

Blessings,

Mama V

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