4

So we are on the other side now.... of Lent and our Whole30.  I can say that I'm glad.... and maybe not so glad(easier to resist temptation DURING it!!)

It was a wonderful (though sometimes excruciating) experience.  And I think we've learned a lot.  Since this topic today is really the Whole30 I'll try to stick to the food part of it... (though spiritually, it was the best Lent I've had in a while as well--- challenging but uplifting and the makings of much progress!)

We celebrated Pascha in our usual fashion after the Paschal services at 2:00 in the morning.... with white bread (Traditional Russian Sweet Bread - Pascha), ham (even baked with a little pineapple, cloves and a bit of brown sugar), pickled eggs and beets (yep, sugar there too), horseradish (for the ham), hrutka (egg cheese my husband makes - I skip on this tradition), salt, cheese (I at least stuck to only raw cheese this year and only had a small piece), Wilbur buds (super wonderful chocolate chunks), and a small glass of wine.  My older kids had a little extra candy and sparkling apple cider.

In the morning we feasted on Easter Basket contents....though I must say, I did not have as much as usual!  I did have a couple Wilbur buds, jelly beans and the ears of a chocolate bunny (hollow....I was so sad I couldn't find solid bunnies this year that we could eat 🙁  )

I also had some ham, Pascha, and fruit. AND  a delightfully hot cup of black tea with 2 teaspoons of sugar. (I added the sugar a half teaspoon at a time...trying to use as little as possible...yes, I still went to 2 teaspoons for black tea...BUT...I still consider this a HUGE success as I use to literally put 2-3 heaping spoonfuls in every cup...even herbal teas which I now drink without any sugar at all.)  Not necessarily a Paleo breakfast by any means...

For dinner we had a semi-traditional meal....though certainly not the "Easter" meal I grew up with.  We had Ham, Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables, and corn.  I meant to serve the pickled eggs and beets but totally forgot them as they were in our refrigerator out in the garage.... 🙁   Oh well.... more for me today!  I also had a half glass of wine.  Later we had cake....it was my daughter's birthday last week and she came home for the weekend.  I actually made two cakes.... a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting for her and a gluten-free cake with a semi- paleo chocolate glaze for us.  Our cake was dry 🙁  but the glaze, though it did not whip up frosting like as I wanted it to was still yummy.

The results of this feast?

Well, I believe I experienced a few sugar spikes/highs through the day....  a bit strange...  it was like every once in a while feeling this sort of woozy fuzzy feeling in my head... almost like having a full glass of wine which I hadn't...  They occurred here and there for a few minutes at a time.  Then they would go away and come back an hour or two later.  Really strange.  And of course, I've visited the bathroom a bit more often....  enough said.  No one else seemed to experience the 'fuzziness' that I did....but there have been some extra bathroom experiences (again, enough said) and my son didn't want the cake that evening as he felt too full and not altogether right....  he said he didn't feel sick but sort of felt like he might be....

The results of the Whole30?

I feel transformed.  Yesterday, though both cakes were still on the counter, I had no desire for more.  I had no desire for chocolate through the day but felt soothed that it was there if I wanted it 😉   I did have one cup of black tea (with 2 teaspoons of sugar) and I have one this morning as I write this.   But as I look around my kitchen with "Easter" baskets sitting about and items that haven't been in the house for the past 48 days, I do not feel the pull to consume them that I once had.  I really feel being away from them that long, ESPECIALLY the sugar, has positively influenced my taste buds and assisted in curing a sugar addiction.    I also lost about 7 pounds and have more energy than I have had in some time.  I am getting better sleep.  My digestive system is working better (whew! I will really have to learn to stay away from the dairy). I've had less severe PMS symptoms.  Furthermore, I appreciate real food even more than I did before and find the delights in the natural sweetness of the foods God has provided to nourish our bodies!

My husband lost over 22 pounds and is feeling really positive and motivated.  You can really see the difference as he goes around in clothes he hasn't worn in a while and they don't even look tight on him.  He smiles more 🙂  And he's noticing the ill effects of the foods he once loved thus giving him all the more motivation to stay away from them.

My son, though he doesn't want to admit it, improved in his mood/temper.  He seemed to have a more even temper through the month, more patient and wasn't as quick to over react to emotional upsets.  He also seemed to be appreciating  the natural foods more than he had.  And he did seem to be better focused on his school work during the day. I'm not that positive that he will resist certain foods on his own accord at this time in his life, but I do think he has learned a lot and it may benefit him in his future when he has to make healthy choices on his own.  He's a teen.  He wants to fit in right now...  I can't blame him for still wanting his processed snacks and sugar.  He will not be consuming as much of those things as his peers, but I will allow him to indulge a bit.

My littlest guy is... well... going with the flow.  He doesn't ask for the processed snacks we used to have around with the exception of occasionally asking for yogurt.  (I just may have to experiment with coconut milk yogurt...)  He enjoys his candy treats from his basket but easily accepts when I say, "No, that's enough candy for today".

And we are all healthy.  🙂   That's the bottom line.  With our health we can focus on the other IMPORTANT things in life.... God, love, family..... without the hassle of medications, doctor appointments, etc.  We'll be sticking to a more PALEO menu overall....still having a few things that are 'non-paleo' here and there - for several reasons - but allowing Paleo to be more our lifestyle than not.

So I think the Whole30 was worth it.  I think it has set us on the right course for better health and better lives. I think it has broken some really nasty unhealthy habits.  I hope that we will stay on this path...  it's what I foresee.  And I hope that it will lead others to a better path for good health as well.

Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Let Medicine be Thy Food         ~Hippocrates

 

 

 

3

It has been forever since I have written here. So this may be long, seeing as a certain little man is not here to interrupt, nor are the other men in my life, nor my daughter.... I have taken advantage of my husband and son being away at a conference to ask our dear sweet neighbor to take my little one for several hours today so that I could have some 'me' time. And what I miss the most about 'me' time is being able to just read or write uninterrupted. I catch a little reading time here and there, so at this moment I'm going to make a cup of tea and WRITE. It's not enough time to start any fiction writing.... but I can at least start catching up here.

So..... Where to begin??

HOMESCHOOL

My daughter is not here this year. She is at IUP doing incredibly well. I am really proud of her. She seems to be adjusting well and enjoying college life for the most part. I am happy with that she still texts and calls home sometimes though sometimes I feel horribly guilty for not being able to talk to her the way I'd like when she calls because, unfortunately, life goes on here at home....

My son has started his 9th grade year, his first year of high school here at home. He is having a hard time adjusting to all the reading required and balancing that between scouts, hunting, and all the things he likes to do (distractions) through the day but still doing very well. We've made some adjustments. I will be reading his history lessons to him for awhile and verbally doing the questions with him to help save time in the day and my husband downloaded his biology onto his Audible account ( I got the account for my husband for his birthday and he LOVES it.... has been 'reading' a lot!) so that he can listen to it as he reads, enabling him to go faster. He's a good reader as far as comprehension goes, but is a bit slow. So hopefully, these two adaptations will help shorten his school days.

My smallest is too young for official school. He's only 3 1/2 but is incredibly smart. I have been investigating the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling for him. We spend LOTS of time reading. He knows his alphabet (has known it since before age 2) and a lot of sounds and about 7 'sight' words. He can count to over 50, including one to one correspondance, and has an incredible imagination. (I just wish it would turn off at 7 when bedtime arrives!)
I'm having fun with him.... just wish I had more time in the day to give him more attention.

FOOD

Food is a big part of our lives. Really, it's not about food but about HEALTH.
We gave up artificial ingredients a long time ago.... things like MSG (total poison), artificial dyes, flavors, preservatives, etc. We moved closer to more whole foods and more natural ingredients. Though the more I studied the more I realized that even a lot of those things we were trying to convince ourselves were natural, just weren't. So lately, my husband and I (and kids much to their dismay) have been getting further and further away from those processed, so called 'natural' food items...even the organic ones and coming closer and closer to real food... truly what God created. Most of what we eat falls under the Paleo diet plan, which isn't really a diet but a way of life. Some call it Primal. Whatever one calls it, it gets one away from the grains that causes inflamation leading to so much horrible disease (probably if you are reading this and suffer from anything thats not 100% health, grains play a really big factor in that whether you realize it or not). I admit, I started looking into it because of my hairdresser. (strange that I've even started seeing a hairdresser that I actually talk to.... still a bit of an introvert here) But she and I started talking about her lifestyle and I thought...hmmm... wonder if this would work for my DH to lose weight? So I started reading..... and reading... and wow, read some more. So the first books she recommended was The Paleo Diet by Robb Wolf and the Omni Diet by Tana Amen. I don't know if I'd recommend Robb Wolfs book to anyone.... he came off as rather super sarcastic and I'm not sure that if I wasn't really really super interested by the things I heard and read about Paleo eating that I would have kept up with it. I wasn't really offended by Mr. Wolf's writing, but could imagine that others might be.... Anyway, the book was very informative if you could get past his higher than mighty attitude. I really liked the Omini Diet book. It was very informative as well. But then I stumbled upon IT STARTS WITH FOOD by the creaters of the Whole9 website, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.
WOW. Great book. I'm sure to read it again and again. It's a wonderful book and program that has truly cured many many many people from all sorts of illnesses, including diabetes, bipolar and immune disorders and so many others. And I want to do the Whole30 program... just not yet. It may drive my son bonkers. Anyway, the food plan addresses the importance of really good animal protein, stressing to strive towards as organic as possible and understanding that some people can't so explaining what to eat if one can't get the best quality meat sources. The Whole30 program also addresses what to do if you are vegan though they state outright that they don't feel one can achieve total health if vegan. But they were not cocky about it at all. So we are eating a lot of meat, lots and lots of veggies, a little fruit and avoiding grains and most legumes. We are not there 100%. I still have quite a few perogies out there in the freezer and I am not willing, at least at this point, to make life any more difficult for friends and family that like to feed us. We already have to ask these people to cook without artificial stuff that actually causes us allergic reactions now... I can't further complicate and say, Oh, by the way, we won't eat your bread, your rice, your lasagne, your...... yeah, you get it, right? So we are eating it a little here and there... a couple times a month in smaller quanitities, to make sure if we can, that we can tolerate small portions without getting sick. At least that's the plan.

The results? Well, we've done this for about 6 weeks. My DH has lost, last checked, about 16 pounds or more 🙂 and is feeling a lot better! I've lost about 6.... I don't really care if I lose... I just don't want to gain anymore. But I feel really good. I have energy! I have started exercising again and actually have the energy to do it. I'm sleeping better. I feel less achy. There's no swelling in places I was starting to feel some, like my fingers, etc. I could go on but this is pretty long already. I'll save it for another day when I update this again... hopefully it will be a LOT sooner!!!

By the way.... this is not another LOW CARB DIET!!!!! I can't stand when people count calories, carbs, fat, etc. It's not about that!!! It's about eating good quality food that gives the body nutrients and doesn't cause inflamation or other problems. We don't count carbs. We don't care what vegetables we eat or stay away from fruit. While we try not to make white potatoes a staple anymore and know that berries are the better fruit, we will not say no to those things or worry about counting the carbs if we do. We eat a large variety of vegetables! I tried parsnipst the other day....mashed... we prefer mashed cauliflower...but hey, they weren't bad.

Anyway, enough about that for now... other than if this continues working, and I highly suspect it will, I have no idea what to do about fasting and Great Lent!!!!

FAITH

In Eastern Orthodoxy, we fast from animal products for the entire duration of LENT. This means most of our protein comes from legumes! Which is one major thing we avoid now.... hmmmmm..... well, we are not there yet. The Fast is not supposed to center so much on the food as growing spirtiually so maybe our Spiritual Father will give us some guidance if we sit and talk with him. Though my spiritual father is different than my husband's who is our parish priest.... but we'll probably just talk to him. We can use seafood.... but I know that a varied animal protein diet is important.... but I can't drive myself crazy about that yet. For now, we use fish and seafoods on Wed and Friday which are days we always fast all year.

I'm doing better spiritually. I had a really really hard time with it spiritually after the miscarriage last year. It's been a year. It's been a really long year. It's been such a very very incredibly long year. Full of struggles in so many ways. But things are better. I can at least pray now with my heart in it. I'm not where I was before that... or maybe I'm stronger in some areas and weaker in others? I don't know... but it's a day to day challenge but I guess that's what it is supposed to be.

Miscellaneous

Well, what else is new? My DH thinks I'm paranoid. (Wait? Is that new? lol) There was a murder that took place about ten miles from our home a few weeks ago. This brought back lots of old feelings of 'paranoia' or nervousness about being home alone (without husband), locking doors, safety, etc. that I know stem from an experience I had as a young college student in my home one summer. Without going into details, let's just suffice it to say that I think waking up with a strange man in your room once is enough to call this extreme caution and not paranoia. Okay, maybe the first week of the murder was paranoia.... but I have moved back into a much calmer sense of mind now and I would just call it cautious. They may have the lady in custody now...not for murder though (yet) for something else... but it wasn't really ever about just thinking that particular lady was going to come and kill me too.... it was about awareness. It was "oh, yeah, just because we live in this beautiful low crime area does NOT mean it can't happen and yes, we really should lock all the doors and windows at night and we should take precautions". My DH thinks locking the dog door at night is overdoing it. (though he thinks we need a handgun... which I have considered but can't get past the saftey issues regarding the little guy). So yes, I lock the dog door. Sue me.

Let's see... what else? I'm trying to keep up with my gratitude journal. My goal is to write two things in there each day. I don't always get to it but I am keeping up with it much better than I was. Recent entried have included : My Godmother, Nutrients of abundance in the foods God has created for us, A smile on the face of a friend that's been down, A friend who calls me cautious rather than paranoid and A sunny October morning! Writing in my gratitude journal is one of my 5 goals I set to create better healthy habits. Gratitude is a wonderful habit!

Well for someone that hasn't written anything at all for months (aside from in the gratitdue journal) I'd say I did pretty well here. Now if only I can keep it going! I need to pick at least one evening a week to try and do that. I just always hate saying no to my older son who always wants to play a game or watch something with me. Who else has a 14 year old that wants to spend quality time with their parent(s)??? Not many, I'm sure.... so it's hard to say no. But once a week shouldn't be awful...

Well, wish me luck with that!
Have a wonderful blessed day and go start a gratitude journal if you haven't already!

🙂