So here we are in the midst of Holy Week and taking on the final week, week 7 of the Whole30 we vowed to keep all of Lent.

Review of Week 6: Last week we started testing dairy. Just one day - three portions of dairy consumed at three different times through the day with meals.  No big surprise there...it didn't go well for me.  It wasn't quite as BAD as I expected, but it wasn't good either.  It definitely caused digestive issues.  Dairy and  didn't seem to cause any obvious signs in my older son or my husband but dairy did possibly cause some digestive issues with my younger son - but not to the degree it caused me.

Unfortunately, my digestive issues with dairy lasted long enough that on our Wheat/Gluten Test Day, I wasn't 100% sure if it was the gluten or just the dairy still in my system.  I'll have to retry it to be sure, but I feel fairly confident that it was much more the dairy than the gluten for me.    Gluten also didn't seem to cause any obvious signs in my husband or sons.... nevertheless, my husband and I have read enough about this culprit to know that excessive consumption can lead to problems- and - strangely enough- though he didn't notice any overt signs, he didn't gain but he also didn't lose any weight during this week that we tried dairy and wheat/gluten.  Coincidence?  I think not.  We also noted feeling a bit sluggish the day of gluten.  Again.... coincidence?  We'll have to try it again another time, away from the dairy and compare results.

So What's Happening For Week 7?  Yesterday was Legumes.  This one we were hoping would not cause problems so that we could still rely on them for a good protein source next year during Lent when we typically fast from animal products. Besides the obvious 'gas' issues most people associate with legumes that I and my youngest certainly experienced, my husband got severe swelling in legs...something he hasn't experienced during all of the Whole30.  🙁   He loves peanut butter.  I think almond butter has found a permanent residency in our home.

This Thursday we will test non-gluten grains (rice, corn, etc.).

Sunday (EARRRRLY on Sunday - our service starts very late Saturday night and into the wee small early hours of Sunday morning) will be the celebration of Pascha (referred to as Easter in the West).  Traditionally, we make a Pascha Basket filled with ham, numerous cheeses, butter, Eggs, Horseradish, Salt, and of course, Pascha Bread - a large round loaf of bread made of white flour, eggs, milk and honey....hmmmm....   We will consume foods in the basket in the Church social hall with our church family admist many Orthodox greeting of "Christ is Risen!" Usually my husband makes a TON of Pascha bread.  He's at least limiting it this year.  We'll just have a small batch but it's a tradition that, at this point in our lives, just has to be had!  I will also be buying less cheese. I only have one package of raw cheddar for the basket.  There will also be chocolate, wine, and a few extra sweet goodies.  It will definitely be a 'feast of feasts' after the fast but not to the degree it has been for us in past years.

Week 7 Menu:

Monday:

Breakfast:  Fried Eggs served over a bed of sweet potatoes and kale mixed with sausage and onions.  Also, as this was Legume Testing day, we had an apple with peanut butter on the side.

Lunch:  We went grocery shopping during lunch hours...I know, but it was the only way to make the rest of the day work...so lunch was RX bars and cucumbers and carrots with humus.  The rest of the week will be leftovers as usual aside from Thursday (see below)

Dinner:  Mexican (Taco Salad) - I wasn't sure it would be all that good without the chips, cheese and sour cream...but it was great!  See recipe below!

Tuesday:

Breakfast:  Fried Eggs over sautéed kale mixed with green beans and onions

Dinner:  Chicken Legs, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli

Wednesday:

Breakfast:  Tomato Spinach Frittata

Dinner:  Crab Cakes over a bed of greens served with sliced tomatoes,  berries

Thursday:

Breakfast:  We'll be fasting this day as we have a liturgy service in the morning - but I will have rice balls with a side of mango prepared to eat after the service.

Lunch:  When we get home we will have corn with whatever leftovers we have for this day.

Dinner:  Gluten Free Pancakes with Sage Sausage and Cinnamon Apples

Friday:

Breakfast:  Scrambled Eggs, Sweet Potatoes or Kale

Dinner:  Ratatouille

Saturday:  Scrambled Eggs, Sweet Potatoes or Kale

Lunch:  Leftover Ratatouille

Dinner - No dinner today.... we will be fasting for the service tonight so lunch will be eaten just a little later.

Sunday:  We will be exhausted.  We typically do not get home until at least 4 in the morning.  I've tried for years to still have the traditional sit down Ham and Mashed Potatoes dinner but it just doesn't work.  This year we may have to take our daughter back to school on this day too so breakfast, lunch and dinner will be a 'whatever you can gather from the fridge and Pascha Basket on your own kind of day"...except for the little guy... I'll get him his food too!

 

Recipe:

Paleo Taco Salad

This is a really simple dish that whips up in no time.

  • 1-1 1/2 lbs ground meat
  • Taco Seasoning  (I use the same one I used back in our NON-Paleo days)
  • Romaine Lettuce, cut fine
  • 2-4 beefsteak tomatoes, diced
  • black olives, sliced or whole (pitted)
  • avocados
  • Awesome Sauce* (or some other Paleo Taco Style Sauce)

Directions:  Simply fry the meat mixed with some onion and taco seasoning.  Serve over a bed of the other ingredients.  Top with Melissa Joulwan's Awesome Sauce (Found in Well Fed 2) or another Paleo Taco Style Sauce of your choice.

Do you have any other suggestions for toppings for a Paleo Taco Salad??

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to learning a great deal about horrible ingredients in our food years ago, my family learned a great deal about conventional medicine vs. natural medicine.  We are no longer supporters of vaccines and other conventional means of preventing or treating illness.  Now that doesn't mean we don't support conventional medicine at all.  It has its place, especially in emergent situations.  But my  point in this post is that there are natural methods to prevent and treat illness that do not contain the harmful chemicals laden in conventional methods -  chemicals that actually harm our immune systems and cause disease.  Therefor, this post is about more natural remedies for treatment of flu that will not harm.*

The first thing,of course, is to remember that food plays an integral role in your health.  If you are eating junk, your body will act like you are eating junk.  If you are eating good quality whole foods, your body will thank you and your chances of getting sick are greatly lessened!  If you do get sick, chances are the illness will be much shorter in duration and less severe.  I, myself, can boast that though I was constantly ill with strep throat and ear infections through most of my childhood and early adulthood, I have not dealt with these illnesses for the past 7 years!  Strep was something I would often contract at least 3-4 times per winter and several times during the rest of the year.  This dramatic change in my immune system is not short of amazing.

But what can you do if you do get the flu?? (And this is possible whether you get the flu vaccine or not...I advise against the vaccine...but that's for another post someday)

  • First and foremost:  REST as much as possible.  I know all too well that sometimes life just doesn't give us this option...but it is the most important thing to do if you can.  Taking one day off work may prevent you from missing an entire week later.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Continue taking extra rest and doing extra things to boost your immune system for at least three days after symptoms fade.
  • Eliminate sugar from your diet.  Sugar wreaks havoc on the immune system! This includes fruit juice too!
  • Eliminate Dairy while you are sick.  Dairy promotes mucous formation.  This is beneficial to avoid, especially, for those children who get a lot of ear infections due to blocked eustachian tubes from congestion.
  • Eliminate caffeine while you are sick.  Stimulants suppress your immune system.
  • Avoid omega 6 vegetable oils which also suppress the immune system. (canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil and soybean oils)
  • Vitamin C!  Make sure the vitamin C you select contains a large supply of bioflavanoids.  This indicates the vitamin is coming from natural sources.  Large doses are a must for treatment.  The vitamin C protocol given to me by a naturopath was to take 1-2 grams (1000-2000 mgs).  Follow this with 1000 more after an hour.  Continue this until your bowels have reached intolerance level(meaning loose stools) because only then will you know that you have enough vitamin C in your body to fight the illness.  The following day you are to take two less than what it took you to reach intolerance level.  Continue for as many days as you have symptoms.  For example, if it takes you 5 grams to reach intolerance, then for the next few days you would take 3 grams.  Each person is different and each occasion of illness will be different for the amount needed.
  • Vitamin D3 -  Vitamin D3 is essential for your immune system.  Our family takes this all through the fall and winter months into early spring.  We take extra when experiencing any symptoms of illness.
  • Keep your sinuses clean!  You can do this with a neti pot or you can put some sea salt and baking soda(no more than an 1/8 tsp each) in your hand mixed with a bit of water and sniff through your nostrils.  The neti pot is easier. A Xylitol nasal wash is anti-bacterial and can fight bacteria in the sinus cavities and prevent secondary infections.
  • Take a hot bath for 20-30 minutes with 1-2 cups of Epsom Salt.  This pulls out inflammation and will decrease muscle soreness and joint pain.
  • Drink PLENTY of water!!
  • Tea - Traditional Medicinals makes great teas for boosting your immune system and easing symptoms when ill as does the Yogi Tea brand.  I make my own tea by filling canning jar with lemon slices, ginger pieces and filling the remaining space with raw local honey.  When feeling a cold coming on, I simply take a spoonful or two and put it in a mug of hot water.  YUM!!!  Very soothing and delicious enough to have as a relaxing hot drink on a cold night regardless of absent symptoms! Tea, however, does not take the place of the water!
  • Drink HOMEMADE chicken broth, beef broth, turkey broth, onion soup or miso soup.
  • Eat lightly.  Heavy meals slow your digestion and interferes with the body's ability to fight off illness.
  • Add onion and garlic to your foods!  These are wonderful for the immune system!!
  • Put on clean pajamas every day.
  • Brush your teeth....OFTEN!! It is recommended to do so 5-10 times a day.  Your mouth is where the bacteria like to hang out and this is a good way to get them out of there!  Change your toothbrush as soon as you are better!
  • Change the sheets on your bed when you are better.
  • Keep a window open slightly to allow fresh air in or at least run a ceiling fan to circulate the stale air.
  • Use a Humidifier.
  • Gargle with raw apple cider vinegar.  You can just use vinegar or you can add it to warm salt water.
  • Remember there is a purpose for a fever.  As long as your fever is under 103 degrees, there is no need for alarm or to treat it.  A fever is the body's way of fighting the illness. Even for my child, I do not instantly treat a fever unless it seems to be causing distress (and is under 103).  Sometimes I will give something for fever at night only to ease sleep.  Rest is important too.

Homeopathic Remedies:  (I LOVE homeopathy!!)

  • Oscillococcinum -  We keep Oscillo around the house all the time.  My DH even takes it in his bag to work with him because it works best if you take it at the absolute moment you start experiencing symptoms.  Just follow the instructions on the label.  Try not to have anything in your mouth for 5-10 minutes before or after as that could interfere with the remedy's ability to perform well.  If you miss the first symptoms or don't get a chance to take the Oscillo within a few hours of onset, it most likely will not work as well.
  • Ferrum Phos 6x - This is for feverish flu symptoms that make you feel run down and cranky.  Most likely  you have sniffles and a snore throat.  Follow the instructions on the label.

Other Products for Immunity

  • Echinacea
  • Wellness Formula by Source Natural
  • Holy Basil Capsules
  • Elderberry Syrup
  • Planetary Herbals Three Spice Complex - great for sinus treatment!!
  • Ginsing

Have a few of these products on hand so that you have something when needed and can figure out what works for you.  Remember everyone is different and your body may not respond as well to something that works really well for someone else.

Hopefully this flu season finds you healthy and smiling!!  God Bless!

* I am not claiming to be a health practitioner.  I am not a medical doctor, conventional or naturopathic.  I am simply sharing with you what I have learned from homeopaths, naturopaths and other sources.

Those are the four things taking up space in my brain today: Thomas, History, English & Lent

Thomas is the train. I am going to attempt (with the help of a wonderful neighbor) to make a queen size quilt for my toddler's bed. "Queen size?" you ask. Yes, well I didn't want to go out and buy a brand new bed or lose the potential guest bed that we have. So yes, he looks quite small in that bed - which is a good thing as he is growing and this makes him stay smaller in my mind 😉

History & English go together. Or they might be seperate. I'm not sure yet.
It's time to start thinking curriculum for next year already. I start now because it takes me forever to make a decision. This year all I really need to decide on is high school classes for my oldest son, though I can't seem to resist looking at classic book lists and preschool fun things for my toddler.... I know there's no need for anything formal yet - but he is progressing so far already without making much effort that I can't resist at least wanting to buy some fun games and books!

For my older son, I already have math and science figured out. It's history and english that are the mindbenders. First, because he's not really interested in them so I want to not only challenge and teach him something but I'd like to make it interesting or at least not as 'boring' as he usually finds these subjects. There are combined curriculums that take historical fiction and wrap them into a literature and history course. Those ar tempting other than to pick that curriculum you need to go with the text and the books they select and not always do I think their book choices are the best. I've actually debated on forming my OWN curriculum for history by somehow selecting about 200-300 or so 'facts' about American history and making up a list of questions and sources he is to use throughout the course of the year to find the answers to these questions. In the meantime, he would have to check with me the accuracy of what he finds and study them throughout the year to take a test on about half of those (of which I randomly choose which ones to test him on). Obviously these wouldn't all be things like who was the first president? But things he would really have to read something to find the answer to or really commit some things to memory for the test. I'm thinking this would really make him learn the material vs. just reading a chapter at a time from a text, answering some questions in an essay or a test and then moving on and forgetting most of what he covered. The biggest problem with that is me coming up with the material and source list for him to use. I'm thinking of putting some polls out there to the public (here) and friends to see what facts or information they think should be included. What do you think? Good idea or bad?

For English I'm thinking maybe pick a 10th or 11th grade literature anthology that goes with a curriculum and just have him do half this year and half the next. That way he'll get in the literary vocabulary and get a good introduction to answering questions about literature in the manner a text would teach it but also have enough time to read further books of fiction, historical fiction involving American history that I select and some biographies too. Then I can throw in some SAT vocabulary, a little grammar and still have room for a good writing program of some sort (need to pick that one too!).

As for Lent, it is approaching. I know, my non-orthodox friends are scratching their heads and thinking "What...didn't it already start?" No. In Orthodoxy, we still follow the old calendar and the timing of Pascha (the traditional word vs. Easter which is a western christianity term) is still determined according to the cylce of the moon and the Jewish Passover. This is actually our fast - free week. Next week is a 'normal week (fasting only on Wed and Friday) and then we have one week of abstaining only from meat products and then, on March 18th (a Monday not Wednesday like the Catholic Church) Lent begins and we follow a strict fast. Every year is different for us according to our needs but a traditional fast means abstaining from all animal products (meat, eggs, dairy, etc.) olive oil and wine thoughout all of Lent...with a few exceptions on oil and wine on a few select days. Naturally pregnent women or nursing mothers and small children are not expected to follow this. Which is why it's different for us every year. I'm not nursing anymore but we do have a 2 year old (who will be 3 soon!) to consider. So I'm not sure exactly how strict all of us will be. I do plan on eating salmon at least once a week and we are allowed spineless seafoods though I've never been one to think eating lobster or crab should be done during the fast...but remember, Orthodox Christianity was formed in 33 AD...and at that time those foods were not considered the delicacy they are today.

Oh well... I think that's enough for one day! Wow...that's quite a bit of unrelated topics all put together isn't it! Well, that's my brain for you! Have a delightful day! And if you have any suggestions on how to approach that history idea or any other suggestions, I'm all ears!

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Well, it's been awhile since I posted anything. This past week has been rather busy with our Church schedule during Holy Week and Pascha. And we all seemed to come down with some minor cold symptoms (which is rare but then I realized we have slacked off on our vitamins and then had more contact with the outside world than we usually do so ......) But it wasn't anything major and didn't stop us from attending services so that's good.

I finished my books that I was reading towards the end of Lent. Now I have FINALLY read Twisted, a book by Laurie Halse Anderson that I've had on my Amazon wishlist for over two years. So I finally bought it for myself and read it in just over a day. It is my third book to have read by her and I am a huge fan. Her characters totally pull you in. I have also started a book about anger. I think, after this Lenten season especially, that I have dealt with a lot of my anger issues - and boy did I use to have a lot of them - but someone close to me was reading this book and expressed a lot of interest in it (Dancing With Anger) and so I thought, why not. I always cringe at self-help books because they can sort of go against a lot of Orthodox Teachings and obviously stress too much SELF SELF SELF....but I thought I'd give this one a shot and I try to just glide over the whole part of putting yourself completely ahead of others part of it and see what she has to say about dealing with anger.....I'm only into the second chapter so far, so we'll see. I'm also reading One Thousand Gifts...it's written by a woman with some sort of protestant background but is being read by a lot of Orthodox people. She seems to have some major Orthodox percepetions and I can't help but wonder how her life would be even more complete if she were to find the Orthodox Faith. Besides, these two books I have a huge stack of books in my room that I have not read yet of all varities and it's so hard to choose which is next. Which is why I'm usually reading at least three if not 4 or 5 books at a time. Sometimes even more. Nuts, I know, but it works for me most of the time. I haven't decided on what my current Orthodox book will be yet....I have several calling my name...

So now I thought I'd post a few more random things about me:

1. We just celebrated PASCHA. Pascha, to give an understanding, is Eastern ‘Easter”. I don’t really like giving it the name Easter because it does have some pagan connotations but I do use the term among my Catholic and Protestant terms simply so they understand what I’m talking about. We stayed up all night…or should I say morning? The service starts at 10:30 and ends around 2:30 with lots and lots of feasting afterwards. I’ve had a sleep deprivation headache most of the week but it is so TOTALLY worth it! I love the way we worship our Lord. The way we go all out for Him. The way we understand Salvation and Theosis!. I am so thrilled to have found Orthodoxy.

2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to read. I read a vast array of materials too. I’m thrilled to have a toddler again so I have an even bigger excuse to read picture books and classic fairy tales and nursery rhymes again. And I’m looking forward to reading the Junie B. Jones series again someday. But I also love middle grade, young adult, and of course adult fiction as well. I love reading about Orthodoxy and learning more and more about my faith and its history, its saints and its perspective on today’s worldview. I also, of course, love reading Holy Scripture, though I prefer reading it with Orthodox Commentary so I have a better apostolic understanding of what I’m reading. I also read things on whole foods, natural living, and things that pretty much go against the usual American Diet. I sometimes read things related to history and science, but those are usually connected to our home schooling rather than a random book I select on my own. There’s other things too….but I’ve realized I could make this a whole blog piece on its own! LOL

3. I don’t do well with dairy. During the fast we gave up dairy of course. I was the most ‘congestion free’ that I have been in the last two years - since the last time I gave up dairy completely. This week already, after just three days of non-fasting, I have already awoken with some congestion and , I’m afraid, been having more digestive issues. I really should let the dairy go, but….it’s so yummy.

4. I have freckles. I use to hate my freckles. I mean, they are like, all over and I used to get picked on about them so I hated them. But then my sister got me this mug that says ‘These aren’t freckles, they’re just a whole bunch of teeny tiny tans.” I just love that mug and I love that freckle philosophy. So I’ve adopted it as my own and shrug off my freckles now with a chuckle.

5. Our dog is a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. She is a cousin to the Burmese....most people know that one if they are a dog lover. But the Greater Swiss has shorter hair and, supposedly, sheds less. HAHA. She's a good dog, but is very hyper when people visit, which makes her not so popular with some of our friends. She's not mean, just jumpy and wants to be in their face. We have tried several tactics. But since we live in the country and don't have visitors so often, its sort of hard to do any type of real training method consistently. Well, we love her. She is a devoted animal, that's for sure. 🙂

That's all for today. I really need to figure out a schedule for me again and try sticking to it. I do much better with a schedule. There's just too many things pulling me in all kinds of directions and I really need to find a balance. I don't want to give up on the blogging. I love it so. But I need to find a way to fit it into a bunch of other things too.