Strangled

Dear New Coffee Maker,

Welcome to the household.  You seem to be fitting in well so far, as you’ve managed to make my husband a cup of coffee before 5:30am, which is something I’ve never been able to do.  I think you’ll fit in just fine around here, as long as your fancy buttons aren’t too uppity with the other, less gadgety, kitchen appliances.  

I wasn’t too sure about you at first, I admit.  I hope that doesn’t hurt your feelings, but I believe good relationships are based on honesty.  My other coffee maker was working just fine.  But when I found out that my husband had been buying coffee three times a week because he can’t make it himself in the morning, I knew things had to change around here.  It certainly wasn’t going to be him changing and suddenly waking up five minutes earlier to perk himself a cup, so I sought professional help.  Thanks for responding so quickly.

I look forward to many years of mutual satisfaction,

Amanda

p.s.  I hope you have a strong constitution.  You’ll be working at least 3 times a day.  Are you sure you’re up for it?

~

So I bought a book yesterday.  Actually, I bought two books, a cd, some yarn, and some groceries, but who’s counting?

I kind of live on books.  My most-frequent conversation starter includes the words, “I’ve been reading this really great book, and it talks about…”  Yup, that’s me.  The book lady.  The one who learns new things and then gushes about them to all the poor, patient friends who will listen.  The one who craves wordiness like I crave coffee, and starts to go into withdrawal if I don’t have 30 minutes to myself to read about something… anything.

I like novels.  I like non-fiction.  I especially like picking up a book and realizing, this woman thinks just like I do, and not everyone thinks she’s looney!  (Only some of the people do.)

I found just such a book yesterday.  It’s called 7: an experimental mutiny against excess, by Jen Hatmaker.

I mean, really.  An experimental mutiny against excess.  What could sound cooler, and more exactly like what I need to read right now?

Did you know that, according to Richard A. Swenson in his book In Search of Balance, “[m]ost of us now live beyond the threshold of our limits in one or several areas, and we routinely spend more than we have whether in money, time, or energy.”  He also states that “[w]e live in the age of the escalating norm.  For whatever reason, people want bigger, better, and fancier without regard to cost, consequences, or contentment.”

Hello!  That’s me.  I totally feel like that lately.  And as a follower of Jesus, it makes me uncomfortable to be so greedy.  I’ve been trying to rationalize it away:  My house isn’t as nice as so-and-so’s, so I can at least finish the darn bathroom.  No one in North America lives in an unfinished house; it makes me look like I’m not a responsible adult when my house is such a mess for so long.  

But putting a priority on spending money that we don’t have to catch up to some vague and probably-flawed societal standard, then lying to myself about it, has made me feel dry.  I walk into church and think, “This whole place is full of hypocrites.”  But I really feel like the hypocrite, myself.  It’s not the other people — it’s me.

Now, I’m not saying that buying stuff is bad.  I’m saying that I know that God doesn’t want us in debt, and I have been disobeying Him in that area in order to fulfill my own desires.  I have been impatiently thinking at Him, “But You’re not doing anything about it!  I need to take matters into my own hands now.”

So here’s my confession:  I suck at money stuff.

I know in my head how to be good with money.  I’ve taken courses.  I’ve been in small groups.  I’ve even done Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (which is excellent and hilarious, by the way.)  But my head has not been able to overcome my heart, which is still greedy and tired of comparing and falling up short.

I’m hoping that as I read 7, I’ll be inspired by what sounds like someone else’s similar adventure into trying to change things around, to live in the North American culture of excess without being assimilated.

I really hope so, because I’m not sure that I’m up for moving to some jungly country where excess isn’t even an option.  Some days, when I’m feeling really inadequate, I imagine that may be my only solution.  I could become a hippie, and live in a commune where we grow our own food and my kids forget what video games are.  I would raise sheep and spin my own yarn, which I would then knit into beautiful garments for everyone to wear and love.  I would also have time to paint stunning works of art for which I would be admired and applauded.  And I would never go shopping in a mall again, or care about spending the right amount on Christmas presents, or be overcome by the clutter of about two thousand kids’ toys scattered throughout the house.

Oh, and my kids would play with the local wildlife so I could concentrate long enough to properly finish a blog post about feeling strangled by the excess of every day life with a really nice metaphor that ties everything together with a neat bow.

I guess I have a lot of fantasies, don’t I?

 

The End of the Gluten-Free Trial, and the Beginning

It has been two weeks, and we totally gave up at the end and ate pizza.  It was delicious.

You see, we thought that maybe going gluten free hadn’t helped us at all.  Raspberry didn’t complain of any stomach or head pains all week, but Strawberry was still really itchy.  And Orange and Banana still had leg pains (although I guess I didn’t really expect going gluten free to help with those, anyway).  Husband also reported feeling no difference.

So we gave up, threw in the towel, and ordered pizza.

Then the next day, I was chatting with a friend of ours, and we ended up talking about gluten free living.  You know what he said?

“Oh, it takes a good two months before you might see any changes.”

Wait.  What?

He also asked if Husband was still drinking beer, and I said yes.  Of course.  Give up his treat?  He would never.  Especially not Guinness.

That would be like someone telling me that coffee has gluten in it.  Devastating.  (Except our consumption levels are notably different: mine, five cups a day; his, one precious beer every now and then.)

So, lovely readers, it seems that we sabotaged our gluten-free trial without even realizing it.  How can we know if it will help unless we remove beer, and we try it for two months?

Oh no, I thought.  The family will rebel!

But here’s the thing:  Raspberry hasn’t complained about feeling bad for a week.  That has me thinking and wondering.  Wondering if it’s a coincidence, and thinking that maybe this gluten-free thing might have some merit, at least for him.

Also, since we ate that pizza on Saturday night (and Sunday for breakfast), my tummy has felt not bad, but not as good.  Does that make sense?

Also also, a friend of mine asked me if I’d been losing weight.  I don’t think I have, but darn it, I love hearing that question!  Could cutting out all those bagels have made an unexpected difference?

So, intrepid reader, we will press on.  My lovely Husband has agreed, and the kids are actually not against it.  (As long as I can still provide pizza; they love pizza; they do not, however, care if the pizza has gluten-free crust.)

I shall now head out the door to the grocery store to see what lovely, gluten-free goodness awaits us.  We have our first gluten-free birthday coming up tomorrow, and I’d better be ready.  Maybe I’ll just institute what I’ve always complained I should do:  “I might as well just make icing, since they only ever lick it off the cupcakes anyway.”

Day 7 (or is it 6? It seems to early to be 7 already) of Gluten-Free Life

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Yay!  Another uneventful day.  I like those days.  They leave me lots of knitting time.  🙂

Tonight I asked Raspberry how his tummy felt today.  Was it okay all day?  He smiled at me and said yes, he felt great all day.  Most excellent!

Strawberry is still very itchy, which is driving me crazy.  I’m praying for some guidance on that one.  He is so irritable and vocal when he’s feeling uncomfortable.

Orange and Banana also seemed to have a good day, except for poor Banana’s nosebleed this morning when Strawberry accidentally kicked him in the face.  Oh, dear.

We ate more of that delicious farmer’s market pork tonight for dinner, in the form of a ham this time.  It was so so so delicious, and just perfectly tasty; not overly salty or nitrate-y like the grocery-store kind.  Sadly, our large family of seven plowed through the whole ham roast in one meal, with not a leftover to be seen.  What shall I do when they all become teenagers if they eat this much when they’re all still little?  Eeps!

My adorable little Apple seems to be on the mend.  I have never seen such a prolonged bout of grouchiness from an immunization before.  It has been seven days.  But I did read that the chicken pox vaccine can have a bit of a more prolonged reaction.  I wonder if that’s what did it.  I hope that’s all it was.

 

Again, a reminder that my kids are not named after fruits.  They have real names that are really quite mostly un-weird.

Day 6, and What a Busy Family Eats without Gluten

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Today was one of those days when all our food needed to be easy and quick, and I wondered how I could accomplish a hurried gluten-free meal.  Usually, when we’re running late in the mornings, we grab bagels and head out the door.  Well, obviously, those pesky bagels are kind of gluteny, and I haven’t even tried any gluten-free substitute bagels yet for fear of a rebellion.

So what’s a mom to do with five hungry kids and a habit of running late?

Well, I realized something amazing today.  I realized that eating gluten free doesn’t mean I have to come up with new, amazing meals every day.  I don’t have to make different breakfasts every morning.  Just like we did before with our go-to bagels, we can pick our favourite, easy foods and just stick with them.  I can save the creativity for leisurely Saturday mornings.

Eggs seem to be the answer in our house.  Mr. Picky Raspberry loves them and seems to be satisfied by eating two eggs, over easy, each morning.  The other boys and the girl are all on board as well…  all except Banana, that is.  He has never liked eggs, and so far, nothing’s changing.  So little Banana gets to eat things like yogourt and fruit most mornings so far.  I’d like to come up with something better, but nothing has occurred to me yet.

We’ve also been experimenting with oatmeal.  I know that oatmeal can be tricky when it comes to gluten sensitivity.  Some oatmeal is processed in machinery that also processes wheat, and it gets contaminated with wheat gluten.  Some people are sensitive to the gluten inside the oats.  But we are doing a very basic wheat-gluten elimination trial, and I have decided not to worry about the oats just yet.  I can only hope that’s the best choice for us, since every kid except Raspberry likes oatmeal, and so do I.

Our lunch-time meals have been made up of a veggie tray, some cheese, and rolled-up sandwich meat.  Sometimes, we eat some hard-boiled eggs as well.  One day, we had omelets.  Our egg intake has gone way up since we got rid of the bread and toast and bagels and wraps, and at first, that worried me.  But then I realized that a carton of eggs costs about the same as a loaf of bread, so I wasn’t spending any more money by eating more eggs.  I don’t know if eating so many eggs has any health drawbacks, but I’m not that worried about them.  They contain good protein, and I think I heard that a recent study has shown that the cholesterol in the yolks isn’t so scary, after all.  I should look that up sometime.  Besides, my kids tend to leave the yolks behind on their plates, just the way they used to leave the bread crusts behind.

As for snacks, we’ve been eating rice cakes, almonds, raisins, popcorn, cheese strings, yogourt, and fruit.  Not every kids likes every food in that list, so they pick and choose.  I, personally, have been enjoying my Sweet and Spicy Popcorn Snack Mix entirely too much, and may need to make a new batch tomorrow to keep up with my cravings.  Or, I guess I could make another batch of the yummy granola bars I found on Pinterest; oddly enough, everybody in the house likes them, even the kid who doesn’t like oats!

There are also cereals that we can still eat, like Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes.  Those are two favourites around here, anyway.

I’m relieved to see that although our eating patterns are different, they’re not impossible to maintain.  In fact, as we get more comfortable with our new go-to foods, I expect meals to get even easier around here.

Now, on to today’s observations.  Today’s list of symptoms/complaints included:

  1. Stomach ache from Raspberry upon completion of his supper.  I looked at him and asked, “Does your stomach really hurt, or are you just full?”  He said, “I’m just full,” and I have now filed it away in my brain that a stomach ache can also be an excuse to stop eating the supper he’s gotten tired of.  Great.
  2. Itchiness on Strawberry’s back.  In fact, he was so itchy that he was extremely irritable at bedtime.  I noticed that his skin is feeling a little dry and slightly bumpy, but with a normal colour, so I rubbed on some coconut oil to moisturize his skin and then I scratched his back while I read the bedtime story.  His skin does get dry like that sometimes, which has made me wonder if it’s mild eczema, but it never changes colour as of yet.  Moisturizing with coconut oil always returns it to being moist and smooth.  It’s still a mystery.
  3. Orange and Banana didn’t complain of any pains tonight.  Yay!

I have heard about a doctor in this area who might be able to help us figure out all these childhood mystery ailments.  I think I’ll look into seeing him, since I feel really inadequate here.  I believe that going off gluten can and does help people, but I’m not sure yet that we’re those people.  If we’re not, I’ll still have questions, like “What causes growing pains?” and “What’s up with these headaches and tummy aches?” and, of course, “What is up with this ridiculously itchy skin?”

But it’s only day 6, and we have 8 more to go before our two-week trial is up.  I’ll try to keep the jury in my head sequestered until all the evidence is in.

Going Gluten Free

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I have moved this post over from my old blog location.

I’m about to use my poor, long-neglected health blog as a daily diary during a family experiment. We are going gluten free for two weeks to see what happens.

What brought this on? Well, I was at the pharmacy the other day picking up a prescription, and while I was waiting for my drugs to be ready and shivering with fever, I decided to browse through the books. (Yes, it was one of those big box pharmacies where you can easily forget you’re in a drug store.) One of them caught my eye, and on impulse, I decided to buy it. The title: What’s Eating Your Child? by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND. 

I have one kid (let’s call him Strawberry) who’s itchy all the time. His skin? It looks normal. Every now and then, it gets dry, but it itches him even when he feels lovely and moisturized. It drives both of us crazy. He’s also pretty sensitive and has been having meltdowns way beyond what I believe his self control can do as a six-year-old. He’s a smart kid.

I have another kid (whom I’ll call Raspberry) who has been complaining about stomach aches a lot, at various times of day and evening. He also mentions having a head ache more than I like. He used to complain about itchy skin as well, but only at bed time; he no longer complains about itching, but he has some nights when he just can’t sleep, and by 11pm, he and I are both past our patience. Thankfully, those nights are getting fewer and farther between lately.

The next child, whom I shall nickname Orange, also complains about stomach aches, although it’s unclear whether they’re merely clean-up-time induced. His legs also hurt quite often for no apparent reason, and I’ve been told “they’re just growing pains. Give him some Advil.” I don’t really like giving him Advil every night, which is pretty much how often he seems to need it.

Last but not least comes Banana. He, like Orange, his twin, has terrible growing pains in his legs. They sometimes wake him up in the middle of the night. He also consumes way too much Advil. But even more worrisome than that, to this mother at least, is that he isn’t growing properly. I’m pretty lucky to have an identical twin to compare him to to see that he’s not growing to his genetic potential. He’s a full two inches shorter than Orange, and even his legs are skinnier. He’s also “clumsy.” The poor little guy has a “gross motor delay,” according to his doctors. They don’t seem worried about it. But I feel bad for him sometimes. He wants to be as fast and as big as his twin, but he just isn’t.

Oh, and I suppose I should mention Apple, even though she’s little and not showing any signs of troubles yet. I don’t want her to feel left out. 😉

Those little people are the reason I picked up that book. I want them to be healthy and happy, and I knew I was feeding them too many bagels and english muffins and toast and wraps… But I wasn’t sure if they were causing Raspberry’s stomach troubles, or if I was imagining things.

Anyway, it turned out to be an absolutely fascinating read. Kelly (I hope she doesn’t mind if I call her Kelly) has so many years of experience, and it’s obvious to me that she’s great with people as well as with nutrition. She even gives suggestions on getting picky eaters to expand their menus, and the method is so gentle that I wonder why no one else has told me something similar. As I read, I became more and more curious to see what would happen if we, as a family, removed gluten from our diets. Would Raspberry’s stomach aches and headaches disappear? Would Banana be able to grow? Would Strawberry’s itching go away?

You see, my husband’s mom eats gluten free for many health reasons, and my husband is exhibiting symptoms of gluten intolerance, too. (Stomach pains, headaches, fatigue, mood swings, skin rashes that won’t clear up no matter what chemical-free cream I try, joint pain, muscle aches.)  He’ll deny it up and down, though, because he loves his bread. Good man that he is, he’s going along with me for the next two weeks. Although his first reaction may or may not have been, “I will not eat cardboard!”

Our Plan

Starting Friday past, we have been eating gluten free. So that makes this day five today. I’d been meaning to document/diary everyone’s reactions so we can measure how well this is helping each person. In a family this big, as you can imagine, it’s hard for me to keep track of who had a tummy ache when, and it’s especially hard for me to stay on top of who ate what when. For instance, I have a niggling suspicion that Banana isn’t eating enough, but I can’t directly remember any of his meal consumptions. It’s time to start writing things down.

My goal is simply to remove everything wheaty and gluteny that we’ve been eating. No more bagels, English muffins, wraps, wheat pasta, bread, toast, or buns. I won’t be looking too closely at hidden ingredients, but I will be reading labels and avoiding what I can.

We won’t be adding in any new foods. We’ll merely eat more of the other stuff we already know and like. My fridge is fully stocked with all their favourite fruits and vegetables, I have lots of meat in the freezer for dinners, and we have a couple dozen eggs for breakfasts and omelets and whatever else we fancy. I also bought rice cakes, which my kids love, and Tostitos. (I know they’re full of bad fats, but I didn’t want my husband to think he was dying of deprivation. Also, let’s face it: our eating habits have been abysmal lately, and chips are normal around here.) We also have cheese, cheese strings, yogourt, apple juice, and even gluten-free crackers (but only because they’re tasty and they’ve been a family staple for a while now. Not everyone likes them, though).

If, after the two week trial is up and we decide we (or some of us) feel better eating gluten free, then I’ll think about introducing new foods to the kids’ snacks. Raspberry is a very picky eater, though, so I know the process might be slow. In all of this planning, I have been following Kelly’s recommendations for doing a trial, and I will be trying out her E.A.T. program when I start adding new foods, if necessary.

We have also added a kids’ multivitamin and strawberry-flavoured cod liver oil for essential fatty acids. For Banana, I have been intrigued by the idea that some kids who are deficient in zinc do not grow to their genetic potential, do not eat as much, and sometimes are even repulsed by normal foods… so I’m giving him 15 mg of zinc, stirred up in his yogourt.

I’m not hiding any of these vitamins, etc, in any of their food. Banana knows he’s eating zinc to help him grow, and all of them have been taking supplements for a while now, mostly to maintain good immune function. (A couple years ago, I had been so tired of winter colds and the wheezing that accompanied them for the twins, that I had seen a homeopathic doctor about what to do. She recommended lots of sleep, lots of water, Vitamins C & D, and cod liver oil.) I have found a brand that has good ingredients, no added colours or sugar, and whose taste they like. The little vitamins are even shaped like stars. They get excited to eat them, as if they’re candies.

So Far
Well, I’m kicking myself for not having written down my observations every day, but here goes:

Day 1 (Friday): Raspberry & Strawberry had a class in which they made hard tack as part of the history lesson. Hard tack is made out of flour and water, and they both loved it. Oops. I guess this day might not count. Raspberry complained of stomach ache, and so did Orange. Husband complained about dreading not having much of anything to eat, and I decided to prove him wrong by making amazing, easy food that I already knew he liked. Take that! Orange and Banana both had growing pains.

Day 2 (Saturday): Raspberry complained of stomach ache again. *sigh* I reminded myself that the first week would be more about withdrawal from gluten, not about healing. A friend of ours brought “barbecue-able food” over for dinner, and showed up with hot dogs, hamburgers, and buns. He very graciously hid the buns away after I apologized that we couldn’t eat wheat, and Husband just about cried when he realized he couldn’t eat the buns. But we also made oven-baked potatoes, salad with bacon & apples, and a veggie tray so he wouldn’t feel hungry. Orange and Banana had growing pains, and Banana woke up in the middle of the night needing Advil.

Day 3 (Sunday): We had to hurry home from church so the kids and Husband wouldn’t gobble up any the cookies after the service. I amazingly had the presence of mind to bring rice cakes for snack in the van instead, but poor Husband is apparently NOT a fan of rice cakes. The kids, although they complained and whined, “No cookies!” were just fine. We came home and had a big lunch, then I went out to our local farmers’ market to see what kinds of things I could expect to find this summer. I came home with some local free-roaming pork that had been fed only grasses and clover (which tastes amazing!), some fresh spinach, and some other really cool things like old-fashioned, homemade ginger ale concentrate. How cool is that? I believe there were still stomach complaints from Raspberry that day.

Day 4 (Monday): I can’t remember Strawberry asking me to scratch his back at all that day. Hm. No stomach complaints from Raspberry. No growing pains from Orange and Banana. Miss Apple, however, is feeling miserable. She’s had a fever since the Sunday afternoon and is being very cranky. She had a big immunization on Thursday and has been out of sorts since then. She’s also cutting molars. I’m very hopeful that those are the only things bothering her.

Also of note:  Poor Raspberry was starting to feel deprived.  His main diet had consisted of bagels and English muffins and wraps with cheese, so being told to “eat an apple if you’re hungry” just wasn’t cutting it.  Although he loves eggs for breakfast, by afternoon snack time, he wanted something familiar.  Unfortunately, I recently bought pogos (before deciding to try gluten-free eating), which he loves.  He asked for one.  I said, “Er, uh…. I’ll check the label.”  (Maybe they’d be made with just corn flour, right?)  Sure enough, the first ingredient was wheat flour.  The poor guy had a bit of a meltdown, but I don’t blame him.  And, to his credit, it didn’t last long.  Not to my credit, I gave him the chips I had refused to give him ten minutes earlier. (I guess I figured that most of the meltdown was hunger induced, and that any food was better than none.)

Gluten Deprivation: Life Without Bread

I have moved this post over from my old blog.

You may be wondering how I convinced my kids to go gluten free.  Here’s a secret for you:  I didn’t ask them. I told them, “I think I might have figured out why you have tummy aches so often.  I think it’s the wheat that’s bothering you.  How about we don’t eat wheat for two weeks to see if you feel better?”

I was sneaky.  I didn’t mention at first that all their favourite foods contained wheat.  (I figured that would become obvious soon enough.)  Raspberry was immediately on board.  He doesn’t like stomach aches or headaches, so I think it made sense to him to try to get rid of them.

My kids have also grown up with me.  You may have read my past posts about sugar.  I can’t eat sugar without becoming crazy/anxious/depressed/stressed out.  It basically causes a day of meltdowns, impatience, and yelling, following by crying and the thoughts that my life is horrible and I must escape it.  (It’s almost like I forget everything good for a day.)

I talk with my kids about why I don’t eat sugar; I restrict their sugar intake because I’m pretty sure that even if it doesn’t make them crazy, it’s bad for them in other ways.  It’s bad for everyone.  I just happen to be an extreme case.

So, the idea that food affects how people feel is not a new idea around here.  When I say, “Wheat might be what’s making you feel horrible all the time,” the kids believe me.  And they’re smart.  They don’t want to feel sick.

My husband, although smart, is not convinced that life without bread can be better.  He looks to the possibly gluten-free future and sees meetings in which he can’t eat donuts, fast-food that doesn’t include hamburgers, and mid-day hunger that can’t be satisfied by going through a drive-thru.

I look to his gluten-free future and see more energy, less pain, and more peace of mind.  I see it out of my own experience with sugar.  I know that giving up the foods I thought I loved was worth it.  Sometimes, I still look wistfully at caramel, but then I get over it.  I have found ways to make my own ice cream with stevia; I do my baking with honey or agave syrup; I can even pour a bit of maple syrup on my pancakes if I want to.  I have found that whole-food sugars can be acceptable in small quantities.  I have also developed a taste for non-sweet things.  I know that Husband’s tastes will change over time.  But, I also realize that there is a grieving process involved in giving up old comfort foods.

A couple years ago, my sister (I think?) gave me a couple books for Christmas or my birthday:  Babycakes by Erin McKenna and Gluten-Free Girl by Shauna James Ahern.  Babycakes is a recipe book that is “Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free” (from front cover), and it has many great recipes in it, including an icing recipe that I can eat.  Through that book and those recipes, I started into the world of coconut oil, alternative flours, and eating cupcakes again.

Reading Gluten-Free Girl, which is more of a memoir/food-discovery story, changed other things in my brain.  I realized then that eating without something — be it sugar or gluten — didn’t have to feel deprived.  It could be a glorious opportunity to find new loves.  Reading that book changed the way I thought about food, and I think it was a preparation for this day, for this experiment, for success.  I can tell my family with absolute certainty that although we are trying life without gluten, we will not be deprived.  We will still eat delicious food in abundance.

On Saturday, I went to the cupboard and removed all the gluteny food.  There is nothing worse that being hungry and staring into a cupboard full of food you can’t eat.  So I decided to make sure the cupboard was full of foods that we like that contain no gluten.  Actually, I was surprised by how much was left on the shelves when I was done.

I rediscovered bags of nuts and sunflower seeds, packages of dates and prunes that had been pushed to the back, and jars of home-canned fruit.  (No, I have not tried canning yet.  Maybe someday.)  I pulled out the pasta, but left brown-rice noodles, grains of all kinds, and even a couple gluten-free flours from old experimenting days.  Some of these foods may be past their best-before dates, but it still makes me happy to know they’re there.  The cupboards are far from bare.

I have some plans to roast some raw cashews I have in the freezer along with some pecans from the cupboard.  Maybe I’ll give them a nice, flavourful coating first.  I wonder what the kids would like best?  I’m imagining a crunchy, maple-y coating on them.

I’ve also made up some popsicles for the kids.  (Here you go: the easiest popsicle recipe ever:  Pour strawberry yogourt into popsicle molds.  Freeze.  Eat.

You’re welcome.)

For dinner tonight, I think we’ll barbecue some steaks, potatoes, and carrots.  I love barbecued carrots.  We’ll have a veggie tray for the picky youngsters who don’t like cooked vegetables, and we’ll slather our potatoes in sour cream and butter.  Yum.

Deprived?  Never.

GF Snack Break

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I moved this post over here from the old blog location.

Ah, popcorn.  Glorious, low-calorie, gluten-free popcorn.  It’s good to eat for just about any diet or eating plan, unless you’re corn-free or trying to avoid GMO’s.  But I digress.

For snack this afternoon, I am making two varieties of wonderful popcorn.

Variety 1, for my son Raspberry, is the basic popcorn-with-butter-and-salt combo.  Variety 2, for me and whichever kids are brave enough to taste it, is a little more exciting.

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law, and I love it.  I have no idea where she got it from, but I figure that the more popcorn lovers who find it, the better.  If you know who I should give credit to for one of my favourite snacks, please let me know!

Sweet and Spicy Popcorn Snack Mix

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp liquid honey

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

pinch of each: ground cloves, cayenne, and salt

8 cups popped popcorn

1/4 cup chopped nuts (today I’m using cashews and pecans, and I put in way more than 1/4 cup)

1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 300F.  Mix the butter, honey, and spices in a small bowl.  Microwave for a minute, stir, toss over the popcorn, nuts, and berries.  Spread on a lightly greased baking sheet (or two), and bake for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Allow to cool a bit before eating.  Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.  Makes 8 cups or so.

In case you were wondering, my kids aren’t actually named after fruit.  I just didn’t want their names to be displayed on the internet overly much, so I gave them horrible nicknames.  Someday, I bet, they’ll get me in trouble for that. 

Gluten is Gone, Day 5

Today was pretty uneventful for the most part, food-wise.  I’m glad to report that there were no stomach pains all day… until we reached the bedtime snack.  The two boys who ate apples both complained of stomach pains immediately!  I couldn’t believe it.  I’ll have to keep my eye on those pesky apples.  I’m especially mad at them since they’re the only darned fruit that Raspberry will eat, other than raspberries.  Drat, drat, drat.

Orange and Banana also gave us the sad, pained eyes at bedtime tonight, saying their legs hurt unbearably and could they please have some medicine?  Husband tried to stand firm, but I gave in.  I keep thinking, “What if it reallydoes hurt a lot, and I don’t do anything about it?  What then?”  We never know for sure if they really need the medicine or if they just like it.  Those darned Childrens’ Advils are like little grape candies.  I used to be glad that the kids liked it, since it made it easy to give.  Now, I hate it.

In better news, I bought some great sausages at our local farmers’ market on the weekend, and I got to try them out on Husband.  He normally can’t eat pork (even though he loves it and all of its magical products) without getting stomach pains.  I was curious: would pigs that had been fed grass and clover and other leafy goodness be better for his tummy?  It turns out, the answer is yes!  We are ecstatic.  (Okay, I’m glad.  Husband is ecstatic.)  The next step: buy more of that healthy, local pork.

As an aside, I found talking with the pig farmer really enlightening.  Did you know that commercially grown pigs are fed pellets and animal by-products?  Yup, they feed them ground-up fish and cow to up their protein intake.  I find that silly, since grass actually contains more protein that cows do.  How do you think the cows get it in the first place?  (I get this information from The pH Miracle by Dr. Robert Young, by the way.)  No wonder those store-bought pigs make Husband sick.  Who knows what they’re made of. After all, we are what we eat.  So I’m so glad to have found a local, healthy source of Husband’s favourite food: bacon.  (And sausage, and ham, and bacon…  Did I mention bacon?)

I think that tomorrow, I should make a point to measure Banana’s height.  After all, how will I know if the zinc is helping him grow if I don’t measure him first?  Must find a stick to stick (haha) to the wall.

I’m feeling a wee bit discouraged tonight.  What if gluten isn’t the issue?  I like things to be simple, cut-and-dried, easy peasy.  I’m already dreading the future detective work and money it might take to find out what could be ailing my boys if gluten isn’t the culprit.  But I remind myself that we’re not through the first week yet, and we shouldn’t necessarily be seeing any changes for a couple more days.  In the meantime, we’re eating more fruits and vegetables and being more intentional about our eating, and that’s a good thing.

This is my first post over here at the new location on WordPress.  I’ve decided lately that I’m suspicious of Google and their ridiculous hold on all things internety.  The final straw came tonight when they asked me for my location, and I pictured myself being stalked across the high-speed modem lines by some mysteriously vague yet sinister Google-y presence.  Paranoid much?  Ask YouTube, Picasa, Google+, Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Translate, Google Adsense & Adwords, Google Search… and all the other things that make up the 60 privacy policies they just morphed into one.  They’re watching us….  Okay, apparently I’ve stayed up too late and I need to get some sleep.  I’ll be transferring the rest of the old Econewbie blog over here later.  Welcome to the new home with the new name!