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This is not representative of my religion.

I was sitting recently, amongst some friends who were talking about parenting, food, and other topics, when one casually said, “I just don’t get how some people make their food choices like a religion.” Some nodded along and the conversation drifted to other topics while I sat there… taking that in, wondering…. “Who and what did she mean by that?” She had followed up this statement with a quick add-on about time and other things, but I wondered if there was more behind her words? My paranoid self said (to me only of course), “Hey…are you talking about me?? Is that what you think?” While my defensive self (again, only to me) said, “Hey…do you know why I do what I do?? And by the way, Orthodoxy does mean more to me than my food…” So I’ve thought about this for a while. And I want to answer it….though I may be way off base by what this friend meant, but it’s something I wonder about. Are people judging me because what they see is this obsessed woman who spends an awful lot of her time in the kitchen, reading labels, and worrying about what her family will eat when they go away for the day, let alone for several days in an unfamiliar environment?

Food is not my religion. But it does play a really large part in my life as it is a (but not the only) top priority.

You see, without the food choices I make for our family, our family would be entirely different from what it is today. My cupboards would be overloaded with pharmaceutical drugs instead of organic nuts and other foods. I’d be lucky if I had enough stamina to make a pre-made laden with chemicals frozen dinner let alone make a well-balanced meal from scratch. My daughter would probably not be in college and may have had to spend time in a psychiatric unit by now.  I may not still be married. My son would probably be driving his high school teacher and principal crazy as we would probably not be homeschooling. And my youngest…well who knows, he may not even be here.

It is the food that some may think is my ‘religion’ that has saved us from what could only have otherwise been lives full of anxiety, depression, chaos, upheaval and nightmares of every sort. I will not go into the details here…I am not ready. You can certainly read  my earlier post that hints at the ordeals of our past life without Real Food and what we learned and how it changed us:

Our Food Story

In short, Real Food has brought us health. We no longer carry labels of mood orders not otherwise specified, bipolar-disorder, anxiety, depression, ADHD, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome, and the countless other labels added on and taken away here and there throughout several years of dysfunction.

That doesn’t mean we are perfect people. We still have stressful days, weeks, etc. but we can deal with them with clear heads and make rational decisions and think through the problems that arise and feel healthy while doing so. We can rise to the challenge of life without always feeling we will succumb to each one leading to great consequences. Occasionally we get colds and viruses too but they do occur much less frequently and we suffer by far less than we use to. And after doing the Whole30, I don’t even have the inclination to hide away with a bar of chocolate anymore! 🙂

This is closer...

But the food is not my religion. ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY  is. Worshipping God as taught by the Church as taught by the apostles…. That is my religion. But the very food that is one of my biggest priorities, right after God, my husband and children, the food that has saved my family from sure destruction comes from the Eternal, Unchanging, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, all-good, all-righteous, all-sufficient God that I pray fervently to and worship with all my being. It is He that makes our health possible through His creation.

I only ask that you try to see there is a difference and not judge me because it may APPEAR to you that I take it more seriously than God Himself.  I don't.  I spend time in prayer as well as time in the kitchen.  And I also know that eating the food we do will not extend our life beyond what God intends.  But I do believe that God gives us choices.  We have a choice to eat the food He has provided - giving us all the nourishment we need - or the food products and chemicals man has tampered with - giving us disease and poor health.  While food is not my religion, I am choosing the side of God in my choices. That is a determination I have made for myself and my family and want to share.

I will not judge you  -  so please don't judge me.  (I judge the food industry…it’s true…but not you) I hope (and pray) that you find the truth about the food industry and that you find the time and ability to cook from scratch for the betterment of the health of your own family…but do I judge you? No.. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. I know it’s not easy.   I will not judge you. But I WILL encourage you. I WILL share what I know when I think it might help. I WILL give pointers when I think it might be possible that you’ll listen. That’s not judging…it’s sharing… its me feeling awful that I might know something that could help you and others and  feeling HORRIBLY guilty if I kept it to myself. But it’s up to you to do something about it…up to you whether you want to look more deeply into what I share with you and here, on this blog. You are my friend…I will not judge… but I will try to educate…it’s what I feel led to do. But it’s not a religion. Okay?

Other Relevant Posts: (in case you haven't read these yet 🙂 )

The Truth About MSG

Children And A Restricted Diet

Epigenetics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Back in April of 2012, when my blog was really new and I hadn't posted much, I did make one post about MSG.  So in a way, I have covered this.  But the world is still consuming this neurotoxin so I feel I would be remiss if I didn't post again.  It probably won't be the last.

Last week, I shared with you Our Food Story. When we made the discoveries about what artificial additives and preservatives were doing to our own health, not to mention the rest of the nation and world, we realized what a large integral part MSG played into it.  MSG, Monosodium Glutamate, is a salt of the amino acid - Glutamic Acid (glutamate).  A salt is the chemical name for a molecule held together by opposite charges.  Basically, one (mono) sodium atom is 'stuck' to the amino acid glutamate.

Now before I go on, I will again say, I do not claim to be a scientist nor am I a doctor of any kind.  What I am is a self-educated individual and a mother seeking to understand what was making her family display mental illnesses and other health ailments in order to become and stay healthy  which we have most certainly done for quite some time now.  What I am sharing here is what I have learned through hours upon hours of research and the use of many scientifically backed resources as well as our own experience.  All of this information, other than our own personal experience, can be found in other legitimate sources.  I will, today, and on other occasions, list the sources or even give links to places you can make your way to in order to verify and further your own research.

Okay.... back to MSG (yuck!).  MSG is a neurotoxin.  A neurotoxin is a substance that inhibits proper function of neurons.  Sometimes the damage to the neurons actually inhibits the neuron from functioning at all.  Other times, the toxin attacks the signalling capability of neurons and sometimes tells the neurons to send false signals. Neurotoxins are also capable of destroying the neurons completely; in other words, killing them.

"According to some MSG opponents the glutamate added to foods is "bad" and the natural glutamate in our bodies is "good".  MSG sellers argue that MSG is exactly like the glutamate in the human body, therefore it must always be
"good".  It is not so simple.  There are contaminants in processed MSG.  An analogy that can be used is that there are right-handed amino acids and left-handed ones.  They are like mirror images of each other.   Processed MSG contains not only the kind of amino acids the body is used to handling, but
mirror image ones too.  This may cause problems because it is like putting the wrong glove on your hand.  It's not quite the same.  We don't exactly know what problems this may cause.  On the other hand (so to speak) the fact that
glutamate the body is used to handling is also in MSG may present a problem because an excess of naturally occurring glutamate is well known by neuroscientists to be a problem in many disease states.  Natural glutamate can
cause problems we already know about.  The reason food processors "free" glutamate from its bound form, is that it acts as a neurotransmitter in its free
form.  The food industry's claim that free glutamate is as harmless as bound glutamate is disingenuous at
best.  If it was exactly the same, they wouldn't need to hydrolyse vegetable protein (split the amino acids apart). "  ~  MSGTruth.Org

Have you heard about 'Chinese Restaurant Syndrome?'  This term is associated with the high incidence of people experiencing headaches or a collection of other symptoms after just consuming Chinese food.  Chinese food is not the only source of this neurotoxin, of course, but this term was made popular in the late 1960's and was coined after Robert Ho Man Kwok wrote a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine reporting to them the strange syndrome he repeatedly experienced within 20 minutes to an hour of eating at Chinese restaurants.  While I've heard that some high quality Chinese restaurants may refrain from using MSG, the majority still use this 'flavor enhancer' in the majority of their dishes. While this term is popular, it is this writer's opinion that the term should now be 'American Restaurant Syndrome' since a vast majority of restaurants, especially fast food restaurants, in America use MSG or an excitotoxin of equal damaging results (i.e. aspartame).  Or perhaps it could be called "Processed Food Syndrome" since, yes, a lot of the processed foods in a box or can sitting on your pantry shelf or in your freezer probably contain these ingredients.

Wait!  Don't check your pantry and freezer yet!  Because MSG and aspartame are not the only things to look for!  MSG actually comes by many many names.  Even those soup cans that claim to have no MSG in them can actually contain glutamates!  There are several websites that list the hidden ingredient names of MSG and offer tons of information.  Here are a few:

truthinlabeling.org

MSGTruth.org

MSGmyth.com

Our household members carry a list of the ingredients we absolutely MUST avoid at all times.  We carry this into restaurants with us (not that there are many we can go to) and have the waiter present it to the chef.  Most restaurants that have a chef who cooks from scratch can come up with some sort of dish that will not contain those ingredients.  The ingredients on our list that are specific to MSG are the following:

  • MSG (also known as Monosodium Glutamate, Monopotassium Glutamate, Glutamate, Calcium Glutamate, Monoammonim Glutamate, Natrium Glutamate)
  • artificial flavors
  • yeast extract (this is extract, not simply yeast)
  • bouillon and/or boullion cubes
  • broth (from a premade mix or box or can)
  • spices (if the label just lists 'spices' as a generic term and does not specifically list the name of an herb, it is most likely MSG. )
  • Seasonings( again, listed as a generic term, this indicates a high potential of being MSG or a mixture that contains MSG)
  • Anything 'hydrolyzed'
  • Calcium casinate
  • Sodium casinate
  • Textured Protein
  • Vestin
  • Ajinomot
  • Whey Protein
  • Soy Protein
  • Anything labled  ____ protein...  if it's not the substance alone (peas, not pea protein) than the processing has created free glutamates, thus MSG
  • Disodium 5 guanylate
  • Disodium 5 inosinate
  • Disodium 5 rib nucleotides
  • Soy Sauce (the only soy sauce we can safely have is raw namo shoyu --  btw, it's delicious!)

There are other possibilities as well such as natural flavors and gelatin and anything ultra pasteurized to name a few.  PLEASE, check out the sites I listed and learn more about this terrible ingredient in food products!

MSG causes a lot of problems! A LOT.  Some of the problems people have and THINK it's just normal to have such conditions include:  headaches (including migraines!), bloating, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, frequent urination, flushed skin, swelling and a whole host of others!  And these are just the mild symptoms!  More serious effects include (but are not limited to) depression, mood swings, rage reactions, panic attacks, anxiety, attention deficit disorders,tremors, seizures, chest pain, extreme rises and drops in blood pressure, insomnia, and asthma.  And obviously, in our own family, we discovered it to be the root cause of bipolar disorder(in combination with other neurotoxins and artificial ingredients).   MSG is NOT something to mess with and yet millions of people ingest this toxin within food products they consume at restaurants and in their homes each and every day, often several times a day!

My family never knowingly consumes this toxin.  We carry our list everywhere and most family and friends are aware of our needs so we seldom have an issue.  In the rare case we do accidentally ingest MSG, we know it!  Usually within an hour, sometimes longer (allergens can actually take up to 3 days or more for some individuals to notice a visible sign) we suffer from some sort of allergic type reaction.  We each have various reactions including itching, hive-like swelling, intense anxiety, red skin, rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, mood reactions, etc.  These immediate severe reactions are because now our bodies are healthy enough to recognize the toxins for what they were.  Our bodies are no longer conditioned to accept the toxins.

I hope that someone out there will benefit from reading this.  I hope you will take it upon yourself to do more research and experiment.  I challenge you to go just two weeks without ingesting ANY of the above ingredients.  Then, try it.  See what happens.  Have several things containing the above ingredients within just a few hours.  Note any changes you see.  For some of you, it won't take much.  Others react but not as strongly.  Some people may need to avoid it for longer period of time to truly see the results, but I wager most will not.

I hope that sharing what I've learned in my research and experience will guide you all into learning the real truth about MSG.  God Bless!

Other sources you may wish to use:

  • Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills by Russell Blaylock, M.D.
  • The CrazyMakers- How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Brains and Harming Our Children by Carol Simontacchi
  • Battling the MSG Myth by Debby Anglessey

4

It's been awhile since I've posted...and when that happens I seem to put it off more and more because, well for one - lack of time and... I just can't decide what to post about.

Things are getting better. I've been fighting the depression after the miscarriage and I believe I am winning...but it is a slow process and now I am faced with overwhelming anxiety trying to catch up with everything I fell behind in.

But here's some of what's going on:

My toddler is reaching the milestone of being potty trained. He still has accidents, but most of the time he runs off to the bathroom on his own to use it all himself...calling me all excited like when he has accomplished the task! He gets 3 little pieces of candy... Sundrops -- very similar to M&Ms but without the artificial dyes and such.

My beloved daughter has been accepted to the college of her choice ... IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania). It is a great school for her chosen Major (Criminology) and, I think, a good fit for her personality and personal needs. It helps, greatly, that the kitchen staff is very willing to work with her dietary needs in avoiding all the artificial ingredients necessary to stay healthy. It is also where her father and I met and fell in love. Visiting the college campus when we did was very beneficial to us... giving us time and a place to reconnect. I look forward to visting her there and meeting up with dear friends as we did the weekend she toured the campus.

My husband and son went hunting for junior season but did not get anything. This means the freezer still has room in it and that they will go out to face the cold in December in hopes of finding venison to nourish our bodies through the winter (after the advent fast of course).

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the advent fast. My heart and soul is not in it this year. We never, as a family, fast as much or with as much vigor for the advent fast as we do for the Great Lenten fast...but I do usually try to at least stay away from meats a good deal. I think this year we may have a bit more meat but will try to incorporate a few more vegan meals each week in addition to our usual fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays.

I have learned how to make perpetual broth....it is fabulous! I'm still not sure how to put in a link here, but I'll type the info:

It's from Nourishedkitchen.com If you put nourished kitchen and perpetual soup into your browser, you're sure to find it. http://nourishedkitchen.com/per[etual-soup-the-easiest-bone-broth-youll-make/

It's basically using chicken bones from roasting a whole chicken (which my family loves....just wish a chicken had 3 or 4 legs - haha! ) and using those bones in your crockpot, adding some s & p, some simple veggies and water and keeping it on ALL WEEK! Each day you take about half out, drink it or use it in a recipe or freeze it and add that much water back in. This is a continual process. I have lots of chicken broth in my freezer now and had great uses for it throughout the week.

Well, that's all I have time for today. Hopefully someone can benefit from the perpetual soup idea! Enjoy!

First, though they may not all follow me here...I wish to say a word of thanks to my friends who continue to pray for me...my family and I have been through a very rough month or two and are trying desperatly to regain a sense of peace.
This weekend was very beneficial for many reasons. My husband and I (and small toddler) took my 17 year old daughter to IUP to tour the campus. It seems to be her first choice and she, at this point, wants to major in Criminology. IUP has a great program for that but also has many other wonderful programs should she decide to change her mind at any point. She already knows some people there and they seem to be willing to work well with her dietary needs.
IUP is also where my husband and I met. So this was a great way for he and I to reconnect on many levels. The campus has changed so much but there was also so much that was the same and brought back so many wonderful memories...and memories that were sad but we could laugh at now. We sat on the same bench he broke up with me on....(the first time) and he asked for forgivenss! Our dorms have been torn down but the apartment building I lived in for two years was still there. We even met up with some very dear friends and that time spent with them did us both a world of good. There presence in our lives is very meaningful and I hope we strive to make visits occur more often! My husband and I did have some alone time (well, alone if you count a toddler) to discuss a lot of things we haven't had a chance to and that was very important.

I've contacted a professional homeopath as well. I am going to try homeopathy to treat the depression as well as some anxiety and sleep issues I've been having. Though this weekend was wonderful and I'm feeling a bit lifted from it, I still feel the depression lurking and know it's probably going to return, so I put in a call to make an appointment this morning. Hopefully she'll be able to get me in within a week or so. I've used homeopathy previously with our Naturopathic physician...but due to reasons I posted earlier on, I still can't bring myself to go see him. So he has referred me to a professional homeopath. She is further away (an hour and a half) but is willing to do phone visits occasionally after the first meeting. It will be expensive to get started but I'm certain it will be worth it.

I started reading a book about praying too. Well, It's called 'When God doesn't answer your prayers'. It's not by an orthodox author, but I listened to an interview with him on Ancient Faith Radio and he does have a rather Orthodox viewpoint on many things and quotes a lot of the Church Fathers in the book...so far (the Introduction and part of the first chapter) make a lot of sense to me..so I think this may help. I have not lost my faith... and I truly still believe that the Orthodox Faith is indeed the TRUE Faith... I just have a lot of questions about God's will, tradgedies, and prayer. So I am struggling, but find comfort in being a member of His church and having so many that are lifting me up in prayer.

Of course, I'm still taking the extra supplements and am trying to get into an exercise routine. And I'm trying to get back to our better eating habits. We still eat better, I think, than the average American with all the preservatives and artificial stuff we totally avoid, but I haven't been doing well in preparing the green smoothies, fresh juice and salads with our meals, etc.

Well, it's 12:30 and I've just gotten my morning routine finished...the same morning routine that I usually have done by 8:30...so needless to say I am anxious about all there is left to do today. My little one is napping and I wish I could do the same but I'm going to try to manage getting something done...if only I can figure out what I should do first...what's most important and what I can manage.... wish me luck!