Our salt-phobic society has deprived millions of people struggling with adrenal fatigue of something that would decrease their symptoms and speed their recovery.  They have taught their bodies to ignore the urge for salt because it is politically incorrect to salt food.    ~ James Wilson   (Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome)

 

I've been struggling with pain and fatigue since my last post.  Being that I've obviously had stressed and fatigued adrenals for some time, I need to expect this.  Even on my road to recovery I must expect the ups and downs.

I also know that I had not been doing so well with staying hydrated or other health habits I was trying to do better with so that is probably also playing into the sleep cycle problems and fatigue and pain as well.  Of course, we're not ruling out there could be other factors to play.  I know my thyroid is sluggish as well and we are looking into other testing to see if anything else is physically stressing the adrenals and playing into these symptoms - like the MTHFR mutation which I found out I have two of and other things we are waiting on.

In the meantime,  I know I need to heal my gut health which has always been an issue, especially after losing my gall bladder almost 24 years ago (NOT a surgery I would recommend to ANYONE), and detox which is really really important to anyone with an MTHFR mutation, and learn to love and care for my adrenals!

One thing that most experts that write about Adrenal Fatigue agree on is that as much as 60-80 percent of the population probably have at least some level of adrenal fatigue.  Some of us are just a whole lot more fatigued than others.  And, most also agree,  a common symptom of adrenal fatigue is salt cravings, and there is actually a strong physiological reason for this craving.

I wrote on my opinion of salt back in 2015.  When we started revamping our food intake when

Photo From Pixabay

we were trying to approach ADHD with natural methods and inadvertently discovered the cause to other mental health issues in our family (see Our Food Story), I spent hours and hours of research into foods, artificial ingredients, neurotoxins, and ended up diving into reading about many many many concepts that I had learned in health books in high school only to find out that the majority of that information was actually incorrect, including the myth that salt was bad for us.  It turns out that it's only the refined table salt with added iodine that's bad-  and the reason it's bad is due to the over processing.

Even so, while I don't fear salt, it was never my habit to over salt things.  I kept Real Salt in the cupboard and Himalayan salt or Celtic salt here and there and would always add when the recipe called for it and would dash it here or there on eggs or vegetables, but had grown up in a house where from junior high on everyone was afraid of salt and so it just doesn't cross my mind to use it.

So now that I'm struck with fatigue (of the adrenal variety), and I'm reading, once again I find that salt is NOT the enemy-  not the real kind anyway.  It's actually important, according to the experts in Adrenal Fatigue (James Wilson is one), to allow your body to dictate the salt in your diet.

When your adrenal glands are fatigued, they do not produce the right amounts of particular hormones, including aldosterone.  A low amount of aldosterone can disrupt the sodium balance at a cellular level, increasing a person's needs for natural sodium (sea salt).  So when a person has adrenal fatigue, they can often benefit from taking an additional 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt in a glass of water in the morning.  Some sources recommend the one glass, while others say to do one in the afternoon as well while still others say to add salt to every glass you drink throughout the day.

I add it to 2-3 glasses of my 5 (16 ounce) glasses of water each day.  And I try to remember to add a little more sea salt ( I actually use Real Salt, Celtic Sea Salt and Pink Himalayan through the day for variety) to my foods than I use to, as well as kelp granules (for the extra iodine).  Most people with adrenal fatigue do not mind the taste of the salt-water mixture (some even put it straight on their tongues- something Dr. Wilson suggested for at night to help with sleeping ).  As your adrenal health improves, you may find that you do start to not like the taste or find it less appealing-  it could even make you nauseous.  This is a good sign that you need to cut back on your intake.  Our bodies are smarter than we give them credit for!    Right now, I'm not minding the taste at all in my warm water (see my last post on Adrenals & Water), so I'm sticking with it as I continue on my journey to rectify my adrenal health and other related issues.

Naturally, I'm doing a lot more than just increasing my water and salt intake on this journey.  But there's only so much room in one blog post and only so much I can write about with the fatigue and struggling to juggle all the priorities in life according to my level of functioning on any given day.  But I promise to keep the posts coming!  In the meantime, if you are struggling with adrdenal fatigue, or think you might be, check out Dr. Wilson's book (see link below).  I just got another book in the mail but haven't started it yet--  The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution.

Recommended Readings:

Did you know that water is important for your Adrenal Glands as well as your overall health?

Last week I wrote my first post on my Adrenal Fatigue.  The past week has been a mixture of sleep disturbances, physical symptoms (body aches, muscle tenderness and pain, leg cramps and more), brain fog, distraction and more.  As I learn more about my symptoms and how they relate to adrenal fatigue (and realize how long this has been going on and slowly escualting), I want to reach out and share with you all what I'm learning.  I'm realizing how many of us (especially stressed out moms in this day and age) probably have at least a very mild case of adrenal fatigue.  My case is more severe only because I never recognized it for what it is and never knew I had the power to make things better!  I hope I can help you avoid getting to this extreme!

I made a chart a few weeks ago-  during one of my worst week for symptoms to make a 'baseline' so I can keep track of my progress and, hopefully, have a visual to show me that progress is being made.  This way, on days like today when I am dragging, feeling so exhausted for no obvious reason (I actually slept well last night) and my body is aching, I can look at these charts and at least be grateful it's not as bad as it was a month ago and remind myself that adrenal fatigue has it's ups and downs even on the road to recovery. I probably should have included dehydration... ...continue reading "Adrenals & Water"

I've recently been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue.  So in between being exhausted and trying to carry on with life, I've done a lot of reading both online and in books.  I am so eternally thankful to be working with a FANTASTIC health coach (Sarah- if you are reading this- YOU ARE AWESOME!) who helped me discover the name to what's been plaguing  me and a super homeopath who has experienced adrenal fatigue herself so is well versed in treatment approaches.

There's a lot out there on the subject.  Quite a number of variations to approach too.  And while my goal is to share my story in hopes to make a difference in someone else's life, it's hard to know where to begin for treatment and where to begin to talk about this 'illness.'

 First, what are adrenals?

The adrenal glands are small kidney-shaped endocrine glands, often compared to the size of a walnut.  They are located in the lower back area just above the  kidneys. While small, they are actually very powerful and necessary. When our bodies experience stress, the adrenal glands release hormones (adrenaline, cortisol)  that help keep us alert, focused, and increase our stamina, usually assuring that we able to deal with pressure.

  What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Unfortunately, it is not yet a common term among medical doctors (though it is starting to become better known), as it's a hard to detect syndrome which often fails to show up in blood work unless your DHEA is extremely low or you have the full development of Addison's Disease.  But more and more doctors are recognizing this illness. Dr. James Wilson describes Adrenal Fatigue as a "collection of signs and symptoms, known as a syndrome, that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level.  Most commonly associated with intense or prolonged stress".

I guess you could say my life has been filled with stress.  While I like to downplay most of it, looking back... well, yeah, I've had a lot of health issues from day one (cleft palate that led to many surgeries and eating difficulties), childhood illnesses (I could write a book on strep! Ha-ha!), childhood emotional issues that left an impact on me and how I would relate to other relationships, multiple surgeries including sudden appendectomy, gall bladder and a loss of an ovary and other surgeries related to the cleft palate and so many ear surgeries I can't count that has led to permanent scarring and hearing loss.  Later in life physical stuff and emotional stuff played into the bipolar depression- of which I did ELIMINATE (see this post)- but of course have always dealt with anxiety (of which MTFHR might be playing a major role- but that's for another post!) and being a highly sensitive person. My education was difficult- no learning disabilities (diagnosable at that time) but it didn't come easy. Of course there were work stresses and the normal stresses of motherhood, late nights and other emotional traumas through the years that are many as well too lengthy  to mention here  and other  factors to consider.  So yes, I've had one major stress factor after another, often overlapping, and not a whole lot of rest from it. So could my adrenals be stressed to the max?  Um, undoubtedly so.

It's true that most of us experience  stressors every day. Mothers in general know what stress is  . And mothers or not, we all have experienced stress sitting in traffic, having to speak to a large group of people, or have an  argument with a spouse or  friend. Experiencing a range of physical and psychological demands can trigger our adrenal glands to give small blasts of strength throughout the day by way of hormone spurts in the form of adrenaline and cortisol.  This is all normal.

However, when someone experiences constant stress, the adrenal glands end up maintaining high cortisol levels-  not something they are supposed to be doing! And when someone experiences high levels of stress for a long period of time, without much or any rest in between, the adrenal glands become unable to respond appropriately or in a healthy manner.  Thus you have adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue can affect the body’s short term response to stress. Adrenal fatigue  impairs  the body’s ability to produce and/or  balance other hormones that will  promote health and general  well-being. If you feel unbalanced or several of the symptoms listed below, it may be time to consider whether your adrenals are functioning properly and it may be time to address whatever the stressors are in your life before you become seriously ill.

Of course, stress isn't the only factor that causes Adrenal Fatigue.  Adrenal fatigue seems to strike women most often but can certainly affect men as well. It occurs most often among chronic dieters(unhealthy diets), workaholics and perfectionists, over exercises (yes, too much exercise IS a bad thing) and those that undergo more than the average amount of emotional stress.

It's important to note that developing Adrenal Fatigue is  dependent on your personal threshold for stress and how your body reacts to it. This means that someone who works 40 hours or more a week, exercises for an hour or more daily, and eats a poor diet may not experience adrenal fatigue,  yet  someone else who might only be working less than 40 hours, walks daily, but still has other stresses or factors in their life may have their adrenals effected.

It's also important to note that  Adrenal Fatigue occurs in varying stages. It can start as what appears as mild fatigue with other minor symptoms but eventually, if left untreated,  evolve into the full blown 'crash' phase (mild cases usually will not result in any blood test abnormalities while more severe cases may show up as hormonal issues, including low DHEA) that leads to constant fatigue and 'burnt-out' symptoms.

So What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include, but are NOT limited to  trouble waking up in the morning, constant fatigue even when enough sleep has been had, slowed metabolism, cravings for salty foods, feeling cold often, decreased immunity, brain-fog, difficulty concentrating or focusing, feeling overwhelmed (constantly), problems handling stress and depression/anxiety, PMS and other hormonal issues, digestive issues, muscle and joint aches/pains/spasms similar to symptoms of fibromyalgia, and more. One or two of these symptoms does not constitute adrenal fatigue but a combination of several of them for an extended period of time may.  Of course, a lot of these symptoms can be characteristic of other illnesses, so one needs to consult a professional and should never self-diagnose.

I plan on writing more about adrenal fatigue, what I am doing to treat my own and what others find to be beneficial.  I hope that I can help anyone else that is fighting this syndrome.  Of course, I remind you I am not a medical doctor-  just an Orthodox Mom trying to figure out this challenge in life!

 

An Apple a Day MIGHT keep the doctor away, among other vegetables and healthy meats and proteins, but too many will keep the doctor coming...  and we discussed this in our very quick lesson using google finds.

My son is not thrilled that he had to give up his habit of a small dish of organic ice-cream or a small  gluten-free ice-cream cone as his bedtime snack for Lent.  We give up dairy and all processed foods during our Whole30 which we do during Lent for fasting and health reasons.

However, he does like his apples.  Add a little peanut butter/almond butter (he claims he doesn't like almond butter but I mixed it half and half for two weeks without his knowledge...we are moving on to about 1/3 pb and 2/3 almond butter this week) and he's a happy kid.

So the other night he asked what  was good about apples. " Let's make that a project for tomorrow", I said.  "Write a note to remind us and we'll spend some time looking that up."  So with apple in hand we did just that yesterday.

We found some pretty cool videos and sites.

Fun Nutrition For Kids!  Fresh Apple vs. Fast Food Apple Pie

Apples: History & Nutrition

Fresh For Kids: Apple

Apples 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits   -  This one we breezed through-  and I made note of the link because I figured this will be a good base of vocabulary to start with as I begin teaching him REAL nutrition- not necessarily what you find in the public school health books (see below).  He knows about vitamins & minerals, sort of , so that's what we are starting with (apples are a good source of vitamin c and potassium).

 

Here's his summary of the most important things we learned.

-Apples have vitamin c - even more than an orange!

-There's a lot of good stuff in the skin so we should eat that.

-It's better to eat the apple than the pie.

-There's sugar in apples so don't eat too many.

I don't think that's too bad for a quick fun lesson 😉

 

 

And today, he forgot all about apples and went on to paint and ladybugs 🙂     Funny kid.

 

*****Just a side note:  I'm a little cautious about the sources I use.  So doing a cold google search was a little frustrating.  There's lots of stuff out there about the food pyramid and I do NOT encourage the use of the food pyramid at all.  I want him to know about the nutrients of foods, but also want him to learn that yes, fats are good, sugar - even in apples- isn't.  So we have to talk through what we learn.  We need to learn about the nutrients , but also about the things that counter the nutrients and how to balance it all out.  This was a good start.  Apples are good-  too many aren't. And we encourage the almond butter with it to add some protein and healthy fat to the treat 🙂

Another week has been completed of our Whole30 during this Lenten Season.  I'm so grateful that we are using Lent as a huge motivator for this one as well as my recent discovery of adrenal fatigue to further keep me motivated, as those chocolate and sugar cravings were tough this week!

I stuck with it though, with a lot of prayer and focusing on my bible  and other spiritual readings.

To know that I really need to extend this whole30 for myself, at least for the most part, seems daunting at this point, but I am grateful to know what the reasons are for my symptoms and to know that this Paleo lifestyle has helped this issue from growing worse and will keep me on track for recovery sooner!  So while it seems daunting at times, I know also it's the standard way of today's living - high amounts of sugar and processed foods, constantly being on the go, not learning how to say no or take care of myself - is a good part of what's gotten me here, and those are the things that I have control over and the Whole30 is a big part in getting me back on track.  It won't teach me to say no or take care of myself in a LOT of ways, but it does teach me to be more aware of what foods have an effect on my body.

This past week was another set of delicious meals!

Again breakfasts were mostly scrambled eggs with either hash browns, sautéed veggies or a small bit of fruit such as blueberries and strawberries. For myself, I preferred heating up a mix of leftovers in the morning. Here is one of y mixtures! It’s a combination of brussels sprouts (my personal favorite) and the roast from last week and a side of fruit.

Lunches were leftovers, salad, or what we call a lunch plate. It’s simply a few slices of organic lunchmeat (ham, turkey, or roast beef), raw veggies, cashews or another nut, and a little fruit and occasionally a Lara Bar. Lunch plates are nice for when we are in a hurry. It tends to be my 6 year old’s favorite. He’s going through a somewhat picky stage right now though and will even complain about the lunchmeat on occasion as well as the raw veggies. It’s a phase.

This was our dinner menu for the week:

Monday: Paleo Sloppy Joes over Sweet Potatoes/Baked Potatoes, Salad

Tuesday: Beef and Gravy over Cauliflower Rice, Salad

Wednesday: Hamburgers on a bed of bib lettuce, tomatoes, and fried mushrooms and onions, fries (not technically a whole30 food but we use organic fries and bake them rather than fry)

Thursday: Spaghetti Squash with tomato sauce and meatballs, Salad

Friday: Tuna Salad over lettuce greens with tomato, cucumber and dried cherries, Baked Whole30 Week 2 Tuna SaladPotatoes/Sweet Potatoes ( my husband likes the sweets, the kids prefer the whites. I like both!)

Saturday: Leftovers (the guys were away part of this week so there were more leftovers in the fridge than usual, so Saturday became a planned leftover day as well as our usual Sunday)

Sunday:   Leftovers (Sunday is often a leftover day so nothing new here!)

So next week's menu is made and the grocery list is in progress for my Monday shopping trip. Once again I've used a recipe or two from  Well Fed Weeknights, my current favorite paleo book.  The recipes are mostly all Whole30 approved or easily adaptable.

I'll be sticking the Whole30 it despite the desire for chocolate that burns inside of me as I write this.  My health is important and needs to come first.  I'm learning more each day about the adrenals and adrenal fatigue and know that I need to change some habits and make new ones.  The Whole30 is the beginning to my adrenal health and a wonderful way to stay on my Lenten journey!  If you haven't ever done a Whole30, I encourage you to try it out!  Your body will thank you!

Have you done a Whole30?  What was the hardest part for you?

 

2

So we skipped the homeschool Schole’ group today.  The little man hasn't been feeling well over the last two days and still hadn't eaten much as of bedtime last night.  So I made the decision to let him sleep in and give him an extra day of rest.  It did me good too as I decided since I had some open space, to NOT set my alarm and let me sleep in too.  So even with the hour I was awake during the night ( either a symptom of or another cause of the adrenal fatigue), I still managed to get some extra sleep!

Still we had some extra time today and I had just bought the ingredients to make laundry detergent though I had no idea when I was going to get some time to do it (I had no idea how quick it would be!).  So as he seemed a bit perkier, I thought, why not?

I got the recipe from a friend a few days ago and had bought the ingredients yesterday:

4 lbs baking soda                                               

4 lbs washing soda

1 lb kosher salt (not sure why it called for kosher but why not?)

3 bars fells naptha soap  (or 1 bar zote)    I got the fels naptha because that's what Wegman's had, though she told me Walmart has the Zote already shredded.

 

We just poured all the baking soda, washing soda and salt together in a big basin.

Then came the 'fun' part for my son.  Grating the fels naptha.  It really wasn't bad.  He used the big bars until they were about half way then I did the rest-  being cautious of little fingers with the grater but really he did fine and I need to learn not to worry so much.

As we grated, I poured the shredded soap in with the soda mixture and stirred.  He enjoyed taking some turns to stir too.

After all was said and done, we poured the mix into some empty plastic containers I've had lying around for quite some time unused.  And Viola!  The first load is in the washer!

And other than  playing a game and some reading time tonight, that's our school for today and it was great!

By the way, all the ingredients came to about $12.50, which is less than a bottle of the store brand natural detergent I've been using.  And we only need to use 1 Tablespoon of detergent per load so this will definitely last by far longer than what I use!  YAY!

 

 

Well, we have gotten through the first week of our Whole30 during this Lenten season.  It hasn't been terribly bad since I am motivated by the Lenten Season in addition to really wanting to alleviate my adrenal fatigue.

My cravings for sugar and chocolate are ever present, but I am focusing on selecting healthy snacks as my alternative.  Technically, you are not supposed to snack during a Whole30, but those with adrenal fatigue SHOULD snack, so I am focusing on snacking on healthy options rather than my usual ( you know , chocolate or sugared processed something) and not doing the no snacking option.  I'm also being quite diligent in getting my 5 glasses of water in daily and this seems to be alleviating me from needing as many snacks as usual as my body feels more 'filled' with the water intake.

Most of our breakfasts this week have been eggs.  Scrambled eggs as that's the easiest to get my 6 year old to eat.  But each day I try to serve something with them that varies so that it doesn't seem to be the same meal each day. I do this, though my son and I are really learning just how spoiled we are as we near the end of The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, our most recent bedtime story selection.  Laura and her family had only white potatoes and wheat to make bread for the longest time, and then only seed wheat which they had to hand grind in their coffee mill for a couple of months!  Yeah, somehow I feel less inclined to worry about whether our meals feel so varied.

Lunches have been primarily leftovers with some greens or a few slices of organic luncheon meats with some raw veggies and a clementine and a Lara Bar or a handful of nuts.

Dinners have the most variation and I do believe that variation is important in regards to nutrition.  It does our bodies well to have a variety of vegetables and such to be sure we are getting an assortment of vitamins and minerals.  I want to share my dinner mealtime with you here:

Monday:  Paleo Chocolate Chili over mashed potatoes made with ghee, coconut milk and garlic   &Salad

Tuesday: Crockpot Potatoes (baked potatoes & Sweet Potatoes in the crockpot), Sausage & Peppers, Salad

Wednesday:  Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon,  Salad

Thursday:  Turkey Burgers on a bed of lettuce (no bun of course) , Brussels Sprouts, Baked Sweet Potatoes

Friday:  Clam Chowder  & Salad with greens, blueberries, green bell pepper, scallions and cucumber

Saturday:  Roast,  Asparagus and Roasted Carrots

Sunday:  Leftovers-

One of my biggest dilemmas over the years is figuring out what sides to make with my meals to make sure the meal stays easy and, yes, I'll admit it, to add variety (both nutrition and pleasure reasons).  Maybe I'm the only one that stresses over this.  But I like to have something besides the easy frozen broccoli steamed in the pan...  so here's a few of our favorite sides from the week.  I hope you try them and enjoy them!

Print

Easy Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients:

2 bunches asparagus

ghee or grassfed butter

lemon-pepper seasoning


For this recipe, simply break off the ends of the asparagus.  Fresh asparagus should easily snap about an inch or so from the bottom.  Spread asparagus out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Simply dot the amount of ghee/butter that you wish to use.  I use approximately 3 Tablespoons.  Sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning to taste.  Bake in oven at 350 for 12-15 minutes until asparagus are crisp-tender.  You don't want to overcook asparagus-  that's when it gets stringy.  Enjoy this simple side dish!

Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 4
Print

Roasted Carrots

Ingredients:

4-5 large carrots

Coconut OIl

Cinnamon or Cumin


Simply remove ends from carrots and peel.  Cut carrots into 3-4 inch pieces and slice the pieces down the middle into 2-4 sticks.  Spread sticks on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and dot with coconut oil.  For this many I use about 2 Tablespoons but this can vary according to your taste.  Sprinkle with cinnamon or cumin to taste.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until carrots are tender.

Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Print

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

2 Lbs Brussels sprouts (shaved in a food processor or quartered by hand)

4 Tablespoons ghee or grass fed butter

3 teaspoons sea salt

3 teaspoons ground turmeric

Spread the Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Dot with ghee/butter.  Sprinkle salt and turmeric over the sprouts.  Bake at 300 degrees for 30-45 minutes until tender (20-30 minutes at 350) until tender.

You can certainly half this recipe, but I always use 2 lbs to assure that I have plenty of my favorite vegetable for my breakfasts!  These are great with bacon or another breakfast meat!


Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6

 

On February 27, the first full day of Lent,  my family will be starting our next Whole30.  What is the Whole30 you ask?  And why during Lent?

What is the Whole 30?

The Whole30 is a food program that allows you to take charge of your health and change your relationship with food.  It is 30 days (or longer and, in this case, with Lent upon us, our Whole30 is 40 days plus another 7 days of fasting during Holy Week- so 47 days) of eating nothing but truly nourishing    foods.  It means foods that are not damaging to our bodies in any way which, incidentally,  goes against that traditional food pyramid we grew up with and certainly goes against the Standard American Diet and will not include McDonald's or Taco Bell. Doing a Whole30 gives you an opportunity to connect the dots between what you put into your body and the energy you feel, the aches and pains that can't be explained , the weight you can't lose, the mood swings that take charge of your days and the chance to change your life.  Because let's face it.  What you eat does affect your health.  And your health affects EVERYTHING!

Recent findings have led me to believe though some may already consider my eating  healthy,   I really do need to take charge of my health and change my relationship with food. While we eat a primarily Paleo like diet, I am known to cheat a bit.  Okay, a lot.  (yeah, my husband is shaking his head as he reads this and I see the little bubble over his head that says 'she eats WAY to much sugar and dairy'....I know dear, I know).  Yes, I'm known to eat my share of raw dairy, cashew ice-cream fudge from Trader Joe's, Gluten Free Brownies (pretty much my answer to everything), chocolate (milk chocolate if it's my choice), and pretty much any sugary thing that is minus the artificial ingredients. , So no, I'm not a saint when it comes to food (or anything else for that matter) .

Anyway, I've struggled on and off for years of unexplained fatigue, sleep issues, digestive issues, etc. that just haven't gone away entirely though they improve and, yes, of course the more I stick to the healthy Paleo diet, the better the improvement.  I've started seeing a health coach and, little by little, have been piecing things together.  I've learned a lot more about what devastating effects NOT having a gall bladder can have on a body and I haven't had one for about 24 years now.  And I've learned a lot about Adrenal Fatigue (yes, it's real and yes, I have it.... probably have had it for quite a long time.  QUITE a long time.) and I've learned about genetic testing that may pinpoint a few other things about my body and how it absorbs nutrients..  But while the testing is still out, I do know about the adrenals, the low iron, and the missing gall bladder.   And that all needs addressed. And what better way to do it then knock out all the foods I have a bad relationship with.  Yep.  It's time for another Whole30.  Extended Whole30.

Is This Just Another Fad Diet?

In a word? No.  In more words?  It's not about giving up calories (I never count calories), or eating less like fad diets are. The Whole30 is about discovering good food standards and eliminating an unhealthy relationship with your food and an overactive immune system and a disrupted digestive system.  It's about eating  (a lot of) foods that feed and nurture your body - giving you better digestion, more energy , eliminating food cravings, resetting your metabolism,  and yes, maybe even shed some pounds if you have them to shed. Fad diets do not do this.  The Whole30 will.

Our First Whole30

Our first Whole30 was back in 2014 and I blogged about it here.  I posted weekly updates that included what we ate and how we felt.  That experience was quite an awakening to how much certain foods were dominating our lives, how emotionally connected we were to food, and how much better we felt (after a week or two) of being away from those so-called foods. We definitely learned about what foods/food groups cause inflammation, congestion, joint pain and other pains, digestive issues, and more.  (I already knew foods and ingredients affected my mood)

Why Lent?

2014 was our first year of being Paleo.  And we were struggling with adapting to the lifestyle and seeing the dramatic effects it was having on our health.  My husband was losing an incredible amount of weight and Lent was coming fast.  We had no idea what to do.  A typical Orthodox Christian fast involves complete abstinence from all animal products.  And while that wasn't a problem as far as the dairy was concerned, it was a problem for meat and oils (tradition has it that oils were once stored in pouches made from animals skins/intestines and therefore was also given up along with the animal products). We had been toying with the idea of doing a whole30 but kept putting it off because, well frankly, it left me quaking how to truly stick to this paleo thing 100% with no cheating whatsoever.

What to do?  We approached our priest for discussion and advice and well, a blessing.  We had ( and continue to have) amazing support.   So instead of the typical Orthodox fast, we follow a Whole30 for the duration of Lent.

What does this mean we give up instead of meat, dairy, eggs and oils?  It means no grains (none- not a one including wheat, rice, corn, quinoa, oats, etc), no alcohol, no legumes (legumes include beans, peanuts and soybeans and anything containing soy) with the only exceptions as green beans snow peas and sugar snap peas), no dairy (not even my raw cheese), no artificial ingredients including carrageenan, msg, or added sulfites, no baked goods, 'treats', or junk foods made with approved ingredients (in other words, no treats even if they are paleo), and absolutely no sugar of ANY KIND. Yep, that last one is a killer for me- making this truly harder than any Orthodox Fast I have followed.

And why , again during Lent?  Because we know we'll stick to it.  We are a family of faith and we have always taken the Lenten season very very seriously.  If we say we are doing this for God, we WILL DO IT.

In Conclusion

In the upcoming weeks I hope to keep you updated on our progress like I did week by week back in 2014.  It may not happen weekly this year, but I will post at least a few times and perhaps share some new favorite recipes. In the meantime, if you have any questions on the Whole30, check out the books I have pictured on the right of the post or any of the websites below!  And of course, feel free to ask questions!

Food Freedom Forever - (click on the image above) I haven't read this yet- just stumbled on it while looking for links to sources.  I just may put it on my wishlist soon!

Whole30 Program Rules

Whole30.com

For The Facebook Fans

Help With Home Alone Meltdowns on the Whole30

 

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Feelings of gratitude release positive endorphins throughout the body, creating health.   ~Sharon Huffman

Consider This:

Barbara Fredrickson, social psychologist and positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina, published a paper on the power of positive thinking and its impact on your skills. Indeed, having a positive attitude and one of gratitude does wonders for your health and overall well being.  Fredrickson's research showed that when people experience positive emotions like joy, contentment and love, we see the positive and possibilities around us.

It's true. Just feeling thankful has the power to make us continue to feel positive and perhaps even younger.  Don't you feel younger when you are smiling and enjoying life? Being grateful creates  inner happiness that transfers itself throughout your  body. Therefor, gratitude improves our moods because it helps us focus on the good things around us and equips us with a better ability to see the blessings and positive things rather than dwell on negative circumstances; thus we stay positive.

Gratitude truly optimizes our health. Positive emotions strengthen and enhance the immune system through the release of endorphins into the blood stream! Endorphins are sort of like our bodies natural painkillers. Conversely, negative emotions reduce the number of endorphins  and slow down the white blood cells  in our bloodstreams and may contribute to heart disease and stroke due to the high levels of adrenaline. Fredrickson  hypothesizes that our positive emotions can actually undo the cardiovascular effects of these negative emotions.

In short, the more we feel a sense of gratitude, the more endorphins we have and less adrenaline; thus, healthier lives!

Photo by Pixabay
Photo by Pixabay

Occasionally, I’ll share a few tips with you to help you keep motivated in keeping your journal and making sure it stays a positive experience for you to help focus on thanksgiving rather than the complaining so many of us in today’s society takes part in.

Today’s Gratitude Journal Tip:  Turn Negatives into positives! If you are having a bad day, it will be harder to write your 3-5 positive things in your gratitude journal but you can do it!  It may seem difficult at first, but the more you do it, the easier and more natural it becomes.

    Examples:

Instead of seeing and writing "I'm still unemployed," you might write, "I was able to pay the rent this month."

Instead of  "The living room is trashed because there were 3 neighbor kids over and no one put anything away," you could think and write "Joy was had here."

Instead of  "The milk spilled all over," you could focus on "The floor is now clean and shiny."

 

Sharing Gratitude:

  1.  Lively discussion with over 100 members of my book study!!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1112029392194451/
  2. Bubble baths
  3. Oolong tea
  4. A child recognizing his mother's frustration and offering comfort.
  5. Being told by someone that he understands how I feel.

Every little thing we turn around could make a huge impact on our road to becoming a person of gratitude.  What negative aspect of your day today can you turn around for your gratitude journal?

 

 

Have you started your gratitude journal? If you have missed previous posts about the challenge, start here!
Have you started your gratitude journal? If you have missed previous posts about the challenge, start here!

 

 

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Wrapping it Up:  November

The year is just flying by!  I can hardly believe that December is upon us bringing with it the end of 2015!  My oldest son will be turning 17 and I will be....um....well, older than I was last year!

My Writing World

It's PiBoIdMo 2015- have you signed up??

This was the month of PiBoIdMo - the month where aspiring picture book writers check in with Tara Lazar's posts on her blog to see the day's guest writer's post to find inspiration on our craft and attempt to come up with at least 30 ideas for a picture book.  You can check out my posts about the month starting with this one and ending with this one with a few in-between.  Other than reaching most of my much smaller goals for PiBoIdMo this month (I didn't actually get to work on a manuscript), I did get a few other blog posts out and thus have done better than the last few months.  But I really need to figure out a way to work on some manuscripts.  Sigh.  In time, I guess.  If you want to check out some of the other blog posts, here they are:

My Commonplace Book - this is something that I hope will also improve my writing skills; it will certainly lead to more writing topics!

Peaceful Reflections

Book Review Wednesday: Ishtar's Odyssey - finally- the first book review I've done in ages! Hopefully I will get back to at least doing one a month....fingers crossed!

Year One Homeschooling & Orthodoxy

Foster The Good (actually posted at the end of October)

My Book World

Photo by Kregel Publications
Photo by Kregel Publications

It's been a slow month for reading.  I really haven't been doing much of it at all.  I didmanage to complete For The Children's Sake and worked here and there on The Living Page.  And, if you've followed, I read all of Ishtar's Odyssey in time to do the blog post for Kregal Publications.  It wasn't my favorite book by Arnold Ytreede, but still a quality book for family reading during the advent season.

 

 

 

Our Parenting/Homeschool World

This has also been a slow month for completion of homeschooling.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I have determined that it's okay to stretch out a week of schooling (according to the Ambleside Online 'curriculum' that I'm using) into two or more weeks...but I'm not okay with days going by in which we don't do much of anything for school.  Unfortunately there were a few stretches like that this month.  I don't necessarily think that was a bad thing, but I don't want it to turn into habit.  SO - I just need to juggle this around in my head and figure out how to still get a half hour or hour of school into most of our days, even when really busy.

I've also been thinking over twaddle vs. living books as I mentioned in some of my PiBoIdMo posts (yes, even my Writing World intersects with our Homeschooling World).  I'm thinking more and more these days while there can be a huge difference between twaddle and living books, there can also be some overlap.  What's more- perhaps rather than focusing on eliminating 'twaddle' completely, it's just more important to make sure that better quality Living Books make up the majority of your child's reading time.

Homeschooling aside, I've struggled with parenting in general. Nothing surprising. We ALL struggle when it comes to a method of how to get our children to be obedient without killing their spirit or doing it in a non-loving manner.  My son is struggling with following directions without doing his 'growling' thing or actually attempting to push me or protesting by putting his face right in mine with the dirtiest face a five year old can give.  We read recently, my husband and I, Peaceful Parents Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham.  We believe entirely in her theory but putting it into practice isn't always easy.  His behaviors definitely push my buttons whether I recognize his need for guidance in how to display feelings or not and , well, it's a challenge.  So we are working on that. This afternoon was a difficult task - telling him no, he can not go to the neighbor's house as his behavior after church was not of the quality to earn privileges such as that.  While it was difficult, it was manageable, but only because I was able to prepare myself for it.  I knew , getting into the car at church, exactly what was going to happen when we got home and I had 20 minutes to prepare my own set of mind for carrying through.  It's not so easy when a situation presents itself necessitating an immediate response when we are needing to go somewhere or get a list of things done in a short amount of time.  Those cases don't always go the way  I'd like. But I'm sure I'm not the only one in that boat, am I?

Our Food and Health World

My husband continues his health goals in losing weight and becoming more conditioned. doing-the-w30-fb-cover-660x244Have I mentioned since doing the Whole30 during Lent this past year and sticking to a paleo eating style (at least 95% of the time) he has lost over 100 pounds?  The man is amazing as far as I'm concerned!  While I used to be the one doing the attempts at motivation, he is the one trying to motivate me to start exercising now....sigh... the vision is there....finding the time to do it and everything else needs some work!  I'm at least starting to walk a bit more again...if only I can figure out how to keep it up during the winter!  I have a HUGE aversion to cold weather!

This month we started the Nativity fast that is practiced by Orthodox Christians. I'll admit, we've never been ones to follow the nativity fast as well as we do the Great Lent fast.  But this year, my husband decided he wanted to do another Whole30 for the fast.  While my love for sugar was reluctant, I assented to his wish....well, for the most part.  He's doing a whole30 which I help with by keeping completely compliant for the meals (with a few minor exceptions on Thanksgiving) and I'm doing my own modified whole30- while not whole30 approved, is certainly a step up for me as I remain about 95% paleo,  I'm not adding sugar to my teas, keeping my meals whole30 compliant, sticking to non-processed snacks for the most part (at least at home) and attempting to increase my water intake.  And I'm doing my best to keep Wednesdays and Thursdays as days we not only observe the Whole30 rules, but stick to abstinence of meat products as well in accordance to the Orthodox fasting rules.

Our Faith World

Again, the nativity season is upon us.  I'm trying hard to keep up with my morning bible time, adding an Orthodox Advent Study to my materials. I purchased this last year through Sylvia Leontaritis at Orthodoxmom.com.  Unfortunately, I never got past the first week last year.  This year is still a struggle to keep up but I am sticking with it thus far.  I have actually learned a few extra things about the Theotokos I hadn't known before and I always like reading passages from the Old Testament that were prophecies of the birth of Christ.

We were disappointed to know that my husband has been scheduled to work both the nights of Christmas Even AND the night of Christmas Day.  He will be forced into missing both church services.  It's a struggle to not want to pout and think ill thoughts of those in charge of his schedule....  but we are trying to stay positive and be grateful he has a job and, really, other than church - which is of course the most important part of celebrating the holy day- we can do the other celebrations any time...and have planned to do just that.  Yes, Santa is such a NICE man, that he's decided to wait a few days to visit- so we can all open presents together....  cool dude, isn't he?

Other Parts of My World

Hmmm....what haven't I covered?  My son's girlfriend came up from Florida for a few days and visited.  She was able to watch him in one of his last football games of the season.  It was really nice to have her here.  Of course, it was really sad to watch his sadness in the days following her trip back home.  But they are able to at least count the days to the next visit which isn't terribly far off...though I'm sure it seems a terribly long time to them.

Thanksgiving was spent here at home as it usually is.  We had a quiet day- my husband  worked the night before so he slept for a number of hours during the day after he came home and prepped the turkey and chicken (long story that one).  The kids and I lounged in the living room watching the parade and dog show.  It was nice that I didn't have much cooking to do since I was inspired to do the majority of it the day before.  THIS is something that I plan on doing again!  I was sooooo thankful for a low stress day on Thanksgiving!

The days continue to get shorter and a bit colder though I can't complain about temperature just yet, especially for October.  And we've found an excellent 'handy man' to help us with cleaning gutters and other household/outside tasks that makes prepping for season changes all the  more easier.  We also installed a new pellet furnace in the basement and a pellet stove insert into our fireplace.  Between the two, we expect our electric bill and the hassles of last year's woodstove to be a thing of the past.  Time will tell but we are hopeful and feeling warmer already.

It's now 4:08 in the afternoon as I write this and I can see the color changes of the sky in the west already. This indicates to me as the day is nearing an end that I really should be thinking about ending this post and starting the evening meal.  So, until next time- take care and drop in and say hi sometime!

What did you do during November?