Monthly Archives: January 2012

Easy fruit fly trap (plus thoughts on poisons and alarmism)

I’m eating my lunch as I type this, sopping up the last of my homemade caesar dressing with some raw broccoli.  Mmmm…

Yesterday, I was (semi-unwillingly) in a Walmart, picking up some 9-volt batteries for my hubby.  And some Larabars for him.  For the record, Walmart Neighborhood Market carries TWO flavors of Larabars.  Two.  I’m not surprised.  They are only $1.15, though.

On my way out, I passed a clearance rack, and saw a fruit fly trap.  It caught my eye because, well, we have fruit flies.  This is due to poor compost management (my fault) + gloriously beautiful weather (God’s fault) + children who are prone to leave doors open in fine weather.  Ugh.  I’ve been swatting those suckers for a couple of weeks now.  So, I stopped in my tracks, and picked up the trap.  It was $5.48.  For one trap.  On clearance.  I’m a tighter wad than that.

Now, the trap was a fake plastic apple with a small plastic container of red liquid.  I turned the package over to see what the ingredients are.  The active ingredient?  Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.  Chances are high that you have the poison (truly!) in your shampoo as a main ingredient.  The second ingredient?  Acetic acid.  This is the acid in vinegar.

A couple of days ago, I read a truly alarmist post about the dangers of Simple Green.  Now, perhaps I took offense, since I have some in my home.  I use a concoction of mostly white vinegar to clean nearly everything in our home, but sometimes, one just needs a degreaser.  It does appear that Simple Green is not quite as “natural” as I had previously thought, so perhaps that bears some consideration.  HOWEVER, the article (not on the Livestrong link in the sentence previous) went on for quite a while on the dangers of butoxyethanol, an alcohol found in Simple Green.  It quoted extensively from the Material Data Safety Sheet for the alcohol, highlighting its more alarming properties.

Now, I’m not suggesting that Simple Green is The Best Ever and you should go out and buy a gallon.  There are better cleaning alternatives.  Here’s what bothered me, though.  ALMOST EVERYTHING, in pure form, is dangerous if taken into our bodies.  Even water.  You can overdose from water.  Or salt.  OR ACETIC ACID!!  In fact, according to their respective MSDSsssses (or however one should spell that), acetic acid is MORE DANGEROUS than butoxyethanol!!  And why is this so ironic??  Because on the post about how dangerous Simple Green is, virtually everyone chimed in to say that they cleaned with vinegar.  You know, that liquid that is nearly entirely water and acetic acid?!??

DUH!!!

The reason that neither Simple Green nor vinegar are harmful is because of the concentrations of the chemicals within.  Simple Green contains less than 4% butoxyethanol.  Vinegar is diluted, as a standard, to 5% acetic acid.

Grrrr….

So, really, the people who are campaigning against Simple Green may wanna do a little more homework first, before getting caught up in the frenzied tide.

Just sayin’.

Most things are at their best in moderation.  :)  Some things warrant some passion and to jump in with both feet and start swinging punches.  However, before you do that, you may want to ensure your passion is well-placed.

Anyway.

Back to the fruitflies.

Mine looks like this, but I used a small plastic funnel. It works.

I figured I could take a small jar (a half-pint glass canning jelly jar), mix some apple cider vinegar and some sodium lauryl sulfate-containing dishwashing detergent (yes, even Seventh Generation has it!) in the bottom of the jar, take a funnel and turn it upside down in the jar, and wait for the fruit flies to be attracted to the smell of vinegar, wander into the funnel, and drown/be poisoned in the mixture within.

Voila!

This morning, there were eight dead fruit flies in my trap.

Turns out I’m not as original as I had thought, though.  Seems like everyone and his brother have blogged a tutorial on this, and I’m behind the times.  I guess if I would have had the foresight to Google this, I could have had my problems solved weeks ago.

Oh, well.

 

Labels, Health, and Caesar Dressing (a recipe)

Cool flowchart done by Cole Bradburn, with the original's language toned down a bit. :)

I’m not a real stickler with labels.  PEOPLE-labels, that is.  Ingredient labels I do read, without fail.  But, having a label helps, sometimes, when hunting for diet-compliant resources.  Thanks to this article from medical doctor and true nutrition expert, Dr. Cate, I now can call myself a “Herder-Gatherer Paleo” adherent.  That’s plants, meats, and a bit of dairy.  Most of those who eat Paleo don’t eat any dairy.  I also eat some legumes, which most Paleo folk don’t.  I don’t really care about that, though.  I don’t care about strict adherence, either.  For instance, many people who eat Paleo wouldn’t eat rice vinegar because it’s made from rice (a grain) or white vinegar because it’s made from a grain (corn).  I think any diet can be taken to such extremes that it becomes silly and prohibitive.  I’m not going there.  For me, what matters is, “Is it healthy?” more than, “Does such-and-such website say I should eat it?”*

The net result, though, is that I need to alter pretty much any recipe I find to suit my needs, tastes, and what I will/won’t eat.  And what’s on hand in my fridge and pantry.  And what can be made for reasonable cost, given that we have seven people in our home.  And that said seven people can/will eat what I make, at least a majority of them.

This recipe is wholly inspired by my friend Kim of GF Real Food.  I went over to her house a few weeks ago and was impressed by how quickly she whipped up a caesar salad from scratch.  She also clued me into the 2.5 lb bags of washed romaine lettuce from Costco that are $3.99 per bag.  AND, I made the recipe in a mini food processor that she passed onto me, when she got a shiny new one.  :)  Thank you, Kim!  I probably could have asked her for her recipe… instead, I went hunting online.  And, while I found several good recipes, no ONE suited my needs, which included using Pecorino Romano (made of 100% sheep’s milk) in lieu of parmesan.  I love me some good, sharp parmesan, but my 10yo son, Wesley, can’t have any cow dairy (unless it’s raw, which is another story).  Also, caesar dressing is traditionally made with balsamic vinegar, which I simply didn’t have in my pantry.  And so on.  By the time I was done, I had so completely altered the original recipe that I think I can call it a new one.

A few notes:

  • The Yuck Factor:  Yes, it has raw egg yolk.  The acid in the recipe essentially “cooks” the yolk, sort of like ceviche.
  • The Carb Count:  Unless the vinegar you use has sweetener of some sort, there are virtually no carbs in this dressing.
  • The Revelation:  I am rather embarrassed that I never realized that real caesar dressing is pretty much just a fancy aioli, or homemade mayonnaise.
  • The Roasted Garlic:  The recipe calls for roasted garlic cloves.  To roast:  Break apart a head of garlic, but do not peel.  Loosely gather a piece of aluminum foil around the cloves, and place in a 325°F oven for about 45 minutes.  Or, like me, roast it for 30 minutes, turn the oven off, and let the garlic sit in there for another hour or so.  To open, just squeeze the top of the clove.  The cloves should be butter-soft and light tan in color.
  • The Lettuce:  Traditionally, caesar dressing is served over romaine lettuce.  If you use four cups of romaine (which is essentially two large servings), that will give you about 2g net carbs and 4g fiber.
  • The “Croutons”:  Traditionally, caesar salads have croutons.  To make it gluten-free, and simply so, I served it with farinata, a grain-free flatbread that I still adore, even though I’ve been making it nearly every day of my life for the last 2½ years or so.  One-eighth of the recipe will give you 10g net carbs and 4g fiber.
  • The Protein:  I also pan-seared some sea-salted chicken breast, chopped it, and added it warm to the salad.  The dressing, the chicken, the farinata… Ah!  It all combined for a gloriously delicious meal that ALL OF US loved, from adults to wee children.  Well, “adult”, rather.  My hubby couldn’t have it, as it’s not Daniel Fast*-compliant.  He had plain lettuce and farinata.  And some garden tomatoes and cucumbers.  And pan-seared extra-firm tofu.
  • The Cost:  (02.02.12 — edited to update costs.  I went to TJ’s last night, and either the price had gone down on anchovies, or I remembered incorrectly.  Corrections made.) Given the amount of olive oil, anchovies, and Pecorino Romano cheese in this recipe, it’s fairly pricey for a homemade concoction.  I buy olive oil at Trader Joe’s, $5.99 for a 1 liter bottle of Spanish olive oil (my fave).  They have even less expensive olive oil at T.J.’s, too.  I also get anchovies there, $1.99 $1.49 for a 2 oz tin in olive oil.  And, I purchase Pecorino Romano there, too!  It’s $6.79 per pound, and one cup shredded is about 1/8 pound, so that’s $0.85.  So, this recipe costs about $4.35 $3.85 for the nearly-two-cups it produces.  Compared to store-bought, especially natural store-bought, that’s a fair price.  Most salad dressings are in 8 or 12 oz bottles, and this makes almost 16 oz.  Still, it’s not cheap.  It’s special occasion.  :)  Added all together:  half a package of afore-mentioned lettuce ($2), 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast on sale ($3), farinata (cost is negligible, but let’s call it $0.50), plus the dressing at $4.35 $3.85 = Dinner for 6 for $9.85 $9.35.  That’s more than I would typically spend on one night’s dinner, but again, definitely worth it, on occasion.
Pecorino Romano Caesar Dressing
Pecorino Romano Caesar Dressing
makes nearly 2 cups
Time:  About five minutes
 
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (also from Trader Joe’s!  No preservatives, all natural.)
  • 2 oz tin of anchovies in olive oil
  • 8 cloves roasted garlic
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar (or other vinegar of your choice)
  • 1 Tbsp preservative-free lemon juice 
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 2.5 oz)
  • 2 Tbsp water, if necessary
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
  1. Into a food processor or blender, measure egg yolks, Dijon mustard, anchovies, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and Pecorino Romano cheese, reserving 2 Tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese.  Pulse to mix thoroughly.
  2. If resulting dressing is thicker than you’d prefer, add optional water, a couple of teaspoons at a time, until you reach the consistency you desire.
  3. Sprinkle remaining Pecorino Romano on top of dressed salad.  Top, also, with cracked pepper to taste.
  4. Enjoy!

——————

*I’ve been having a disagreement with my husband about this.  He’s on a Daniel Fast, which he typically does for 2-4 weeks at a time, twice a year.  In general terms, a Daniel Fast is a whole foods, vegan diet, based upon the example of a few upper-crust Hebrew men, including Daniel, who were taken into captivity by the Babylonians, and challenged their captors to test their health after an all-veggie diet.  In the past, my hubby has allowed himself a few natural sweeteners, like honey, and not been too particular about one tiny ingredient or another.  However, this go-round, he has been following the protocol of a few websites devoted to the Daniel Fast, and they say that one shouldn’t have any vinegar, either, since it’s fermented, as was the wine that Daniel forewent.  I think that’s too nit-picky.  However, my husband feels more comfortable following the rules to the letter, even if — as my point is — who are those folks to make the rules???  But, to each his own.  I do understand how one can really long for guidelines, boundaries, and it become important not to cross them.  I kind of used to be like that.  :)

Bubble burst

“Two minutes.  I’m walking Mommy out.  I’ll be back in two minutes.  Don’t come out.  Let me have TWO MINUTES with Mommy,” my hubby Martin stressed to the children, who were finishing dinner.

It’s a weekly event.  I go grocery shopping on Wednesday nights, and he walks me to the car, carrying my shopping bags and unlocking and opening the car door for me.  When you have five children, it’s pretty amazing how valuable a tiny slice of time together can be.

“So, even though I didn’t start this diet to lose weight, I’m pretty happy to have lost some.  Guess how much!” I demanded as we walked slowly toward the car.

I was thinking that he hadn’t noticed;  he hadn’t mentioned anything about it.  I thought he’d say, “Two pounds?  Three?” and I could return with a triumphant grin, “No!  Almost EIGHT!”  I’ve lost 7.7 lbs, to be exact.

He looked me over with a thoughtful, “Hmmm…” Then, he confidently guessed, “Seven point five pounds.”

WHAT???

At that point, Audrey came running out, barefoot in the 45° weather, in tears, “Granty ran into me and hit my mouth!!”

Our two minutes were clearly up, so we quickly kissed, I stuffed my near-shock at his accuracy, got into the car, backed out, threw “I love you” hand signs*, and went off to the grocery store, smugness deflated, as Martin tended to the crisis.

I asked him about it again this morning, and I’m still not sure if it was just a good guess or an accurate estimate based upon close observation.  It’s his secret, I guess.

—————

*We have a “secret” sign in our family.  It started with my hubby saying, “Love yas!” as he held up the normal “I love you” ASL short-cut, usually to Audrey, as he was backing out of her bedroom door at night.  When she was really little, Audrey started one-upping him by holding up both hands with the sign, saying, “Double love yas!”  Then, she raised the bar by crossing her two forearms into an X, with the “I love you” sign flashing on both hands, “Triple love yas!”  So, now, we all “triple love yas” each other…  :)

Surviving low-carb.

Good news:  I think I’m surviving the super-low-carb diet well, but

Bad news:  it’s apparent that only one week of it is not going to clear up my Candidiasis.

Good news:  I’m definitely less itchy, over-all, and have had fewer hives, but

Bad news:  in the six nights on this diet, I’ve still had hives four of them, including last night — big welty hives all over my legs and belly and hands.  I took Benedryl, and that cleared up most of them, but was still restless and unable to sleep well from itchy, burning fingers and toes.

Good news:  I have lost 4.5 lbs in one week.  Actually, six days.  That’s great.  Even if my self-diagnosis of Candidiasis (based on symptoms and the fact that Fi has it, too) is wrong, at least I’m losing weight.

I’ve spent very little time feeling hungry.  I’m sometimes not satisfied with the selection of safe/appropriate foods I can eat;  I’d really rather dive into that bag of Kettle Chips or finish off the Godiva Dark Chocolate Gems my sister got me for Christmas.  But, a little self-control never hurt anybody, right?  As my friend Kim predicted, day five was the worst for cravings.  I didn’t cave, though.  Well, I DID have one piece of dark chocolate.  3g sugar.  That was it.

For the record, I am shooting for 30 net carbs or fewer, daily, and at least 15 carbs of dietary fiber.  In real life, most days are around 35 carbs.  The fewer carbs from sugars the better.  I don’t give a rip about fats.  I eat lots of fat.  :)  Healthy fat.  I eat lots of protein, too…  I’m not shooting for a particular goal on protein, though.  I’m also not trying to stick to a particular “way” of eating.  I mean, my diet is Paleo-ish, but I’m happily putting half and half in my morning coffee, and slices of cheese with my lunch.  :)  I don’t really care if my diet fits within the standards of any prescribed way of eating;  it’s just what works for me.

I have decided that for each day I am at less-than-30 carbs for the day, I will reward myself with one chocolate gem — 3 carbs each.  Last night, though, I was at 25 carbs for the day, and decided I’d rather have ½ cup of plain yogurt (full fat, cream-top Brown Cow — YUM!) instead.  Six carbs.  :)

Snacks or meals that have really helped me push through:

  1. Raw almonds.  These are ALWAYS a favorite of mine.  Two ounces contain 5 net carbs and 7 grams fiber.
  2. Avocado.  I know I’ve already blogged about avocados, but it bears repeating.  Half of an avocado has about 1.5g net carbs and 5g dietary fiber.
  3. Bone broth.  I know this sounds gross, but it is SO GOOD.  I’m not following a recipe.  I’m just chucking the bones (leftover/cooked and raw) from whatever I make into a pot and boil the heck out of it.  I make sure it boils about 3x/daily, for a good long time.  This way, the nutrition — protein from gelatin as well as minerals — is transferred to the broth, and no pathogens can grow.  I’m considering using my old Crockpot as a dedicated bone broth cooker, letting it go 24/7, but I don’t like the idea of using up that much electricity.  My stove is gas, and I’d rather use the gas for fueling my bone broth.  Any time I want, I just serve myself up a mug (or two) of broth, mixing in 1/2 tsp or so of sea salt (to which I always add iodine-rich Kelp Granules).
  4. Raw veggies.  I love raw veggies anyway.  Cauliflower, broccoli, garden tomatoes…  all low carb.  I know, tomatoes are supposedly high-carb, but 100g raw tomatoes (about 5 cherry tomatoes) have only 3g carbs and 1g fiber.  The only thing I miss is some kind of dip.  I need to come up with a carb-friendly dip.
  5. Vinegar drink.  I know this sounds gross, too, but it’s good.  And cheap.  Bragg’s sells 16 oz bottles of this stuff for $2.50+.  I make mine for virtually free.  One tablespoon raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (right now, I’m using Solana Gold), a couple tiny scoops of stevia (I get my 622-serving container from Trader Joe’s for $10), and twice a day, I stir in the contents of a probiotic capsule.  I try to drink these on an empty stomach for maximum benefit.
  6. Eggs, meat, and cheese.  All of these are highly satisfying, and carb-free (large eggs do have 0.4g carbs each).

I was going to put a note about Fiala’s NMD prescribing the wrong kind of Nystatin (sucrose-containing liquid, which is for oral thrush, not systemic Candidiasis, for which plain, powdered Nystatin is appropriate).  I guess I just did.  That isn’t resolved yet;  I’ll let you know how that goes.  However, the topical Nystatin is working fairly well, especially on her chin.

Small Fiala update

Went to the NMD today for Fiala.  She said that there are 7-8 paths she’s considering pursuing for Fi, but we’ll take it in manageable chunks, rather than all at once.  For now, we are…

  • Going to do Nystatin for yeast overgrowth, internally and topically, for a month, in addition to the no-sugar, apple cider vinegar and probiotic-enhanced more-restricted than ever diet I have Fi on.
  • Still pursuing a possible diabetes diagnosis, though the initial urinalysis showed no glucose dumping.  We’re going to have her undergo some more specialized testing…  She said that Type 1 and a kind I’d never heard of, diabetes insipidus, are still possibilities.
  • We’ll very likely be seeing a pediatric endocrinologist, both for the diabetes issue and for possible hypothyroidism.
  • We’re starting homeopathic graphites up again, which I’d dropped when Fi broke out badly a couple of weeks ago…  I thought it was a possible reaction to the graphites.  It probably isn’t.  You never know….
  • Fiala is going to have some bloodwork done.  Not sure what all that is for…  I’ll have to Google to find out what each test is for.

Other than yeast, absolutely nothing is certain…  we’re just trying to pinpoint and rule things out.  I’m really comfortable with this protocol.  It’s not too invasive, but it feels like it’s on the right track.  Not too little, not too much.

Who has most influenced your walk with Jesus?

My IRL friend Nicole, a.k.a. Modern Reject poses this question on her blog today:  Who has most influenced your walk with Jesus?  My reply ended up being pretty lengthy, and I thought I’d copy & paste it here, and pose the same question to my readers.  :)

My list:

Arlene Hammons, the lady who led me to Jesus when I was four, and was a consistent, caring, Godly influence on me as the children’s pastor of the church I attended from age 3-18. Even when I was “graduated” out of children’s ministry, we still had a lot of contact. I will always be grateful to her influence in my life.

My former pastor, Brian Anderson, pastor of Vineyard Church North Phoenix. I started going there (double-timing my childhood church) when I was 16, and it was mind-blowing and REAL to me, and even though I haven’t been a part of that church for 17 years now (I went there from age 16-21), much of Brian’s teaching has remained.

My current pastors, Dennis & Nancy Bourns of VCF Phoenix. SELFLESS love and service, empowered by the Holy Spirit, with a true desire to produce fruitful, mature disciples who are having an impact on the world. I met them when I was 16, when they were “just” the parents of my high school friend, Holly. They were a solid, Godly family when my own family was completely dysfunctional. I would stay for weeks at a time in their home, and I had countless conversations with Nancy on their family room couch… she was counseling me and I never even knew it. :D Stealth-counseling. I absolutely credit any spiritual maturity and mental health to Dennis & Nancy’s influence in my life. I love them with all of my heart. I could easily cry, just thinking about how they have poured into me, with zero self-interest, in the last 20+ years.

Kathy Beal (www.wisdomtown.com). I have gone from regarding her as mentor to being privileged to call her friend over the last nearly 18 years she has been in my life. Her pursuit of Jesus, her gentle but real Godliness, her humility before the Father, her humor and interests have all greatly influenced me, and I love her dearly. One of my favorite things in the world is spending time with her — any amount of time, in any setting, for any reason. I always leave her presence both refreshed and challenged, which is a rare combination.

That’s pretty much it. There have been books I’ve read and appreciated, but relationship deeply matters to me. I can learn from a book, or from someone who has a peripheral presence in my life, but someone can’t really be an *INFLUENCE* to me unless I *LOVE* them, and they, me.

Dark nights of the soul and other chipper topics

I lost nearly two pounds yesterday*, and didn’t feel awful all day long.  I felt quite full, in fact.  I crave sweet stuff, so I wasn’t necessarily eating what I would PREFER to eat, but that’s different than being actually hungry.  I still got hives in the evening, the odd and troublesome symptom that brought on my current anti-Candida diet.  Additionally, I had terrible knee pain (which I guess can be a symptom of yeast die-off) last night, which persists today.  I’m taking aspirin, both to relieve pain and any inflammation, otherwise I just couldn’t function.

Though the world of Candidiasis and its treatment suggestions can leave one’s head spinning, I did a bit of reading this morning, and apparently, bentonite clay helps with cleansing from Candida overgrowth and helps to minimize the die-off symptoms.  So, I’m picking some up tonight.  I’m getting more colloidal silver, too.  Fi broke our large and expensive brand-new jar a couple of weeks ago.  A couple of months ago, in a fit of “I’ll try just about anything!” I rubbed some colloidal silver into her super-bad cradle cap/crust, and onto her chin (which has always been her most troublesome spot), and it helped somewhat, for reasons unbeknownst to me.  Well, actually, I was thinking it was colloidal silver’s anti-bacterial properties that was helping, but I guess it was the infectious opposite of bacteria — fungus — that was causing the problem on Fi’s skin…

Sweet Fiala, romping in our two-months-later-than-everyone-else fallen leaves. You can zoom in, if you care to, to see her sad skin.

This whole thing has made me think back to one of the first — and worst — doctors I saw for Fi.  She was eight months old, and one of the things he said was, “That’s impetigo!” on her chin.  I questioned him, and he said, “Well, I could flake some of that crust off, which would hurt her, to do a culture which would just prove it’s impetigo, or I can just prescribe the antibiotics for it.”  That was Fi’s first ever round of antibiotics, and I have kicked myself for the last 2½ years for not responding, “Well, hurt or no, let’s culture it to be sure.”  Because now, more than ever, I’m wondering if she hasn’t been struggling with yeast this whole time.

Or, maybe it was impetigo at the time, and she’s just been back and forth.  I really don’t know.

I am, however, feeling a little more upbeat right now, because it’s looking like we’re on the right track with this whole Candida thing.

On the other hand…. Candidiasis is a symptom, not a root issue.  Knowing her root issue would sure be nice.  But for now, I’ll rest in the encouragement of just even knowing how to treat her symptoms.  I feel better going somewhere, rather than just drifting.

I did rather need to drift, though, for a season.

I wrote this to a dear friend, yesterday:

I had a serious “dark night of the soul” for about six months right around the time when Fiala was one year old, when it became apparent that no one knew what was wrong with her, and it wasn’t making any difference how many doctors we saw, no one knew. I didn’t know. The one thing I knew is that if our Father simply glanced her way and said the word, she’d be healed. And He didn’t do that. That season was the only time in my life where I have seriously doubted the love of God, and been truly angry at Him. And I had to learn to absolutely lay that down, and say with all my heart, “Though you slay me (or my child), yet will I trust you.” And have His presence be enough. And not have my love or trust for my Father rely on whether or not He answers my prayers or heals my baby.

I read a true story recently of a man in Afghanistan who had become a Christian, abandoning Islam, and was imprisoned and tortured for his beliefs, and he had — truly — a dark night of the soul where he felt totally abandoned by God and questioned Him, “Haven’t I been faithful? Haven’t I done everything You have asked of me? Haven’t I shared your love with as many people as I can?” Like Job, he asked God to search his heart to find any wicked way in him, and he felt totally clean before God. He truly was a faithful and true servant of our Father, and He knew God had the power to say the word and remove him from the torture. And one night, as the man lay, beaten, on the bare stone floor of the prison, he had a vision of Jesus, and Jesus came into the room, laid down on the floor next to him, reached over, and held the man’s hand. And that changed him forever. That was enough. If Jesus is with me, with him, with you, holding our hand, laying down with us in our suffering, that is enough.

I had already had somewhat of a revelation of that before I read the story, but that SEALED it. We’re laying on a stone floor, and Jesus comes in, lays next to us, and takes our hand without a word, and that is enough.

By about April-ish of 2010, I stopped almost all of Fiala’s medical care, minus a few trips to urgent care, and a couple trips in 2010 to a family doctor, who eventually dropped us when we discontinued vaccinating.  We’d seen seven doctors by that point, and all of them had pretty much said either:

  1. You’ll never find the source of all her allergies.  Have her eat a healthy diet, and here are eight prescriptions for her symptoms.  (Or fewer, though one doctor truly gave us eight the first time we saw him.)
  2. Whatever food you notice that is bothering her, don’t feed her that.

Option #1 is bogus, option #2 is, “Well, duh.  I didn’t need to spend a $50 co-pay to figure that out.”

It was becoming very clear that I really needed to drop my incessant pounding at God’s door, “HEAL HER!  HEAL HER!!  DON’T YOU LOVE HER???!!??  WHAT IS WRONG WITH HER??!!???”  That was just not healthy or helpful on any level.  I stopped, too, my near-daily searches on the internet for cases that matched her symptoms, to try to find out what might be at the core of her life-long health struggles (literally — first symptoms showed up when she was two months old, and she is now 3 years, 2 months).  And, I’ve taken these last 20 months or so to just do the best I can with what I have, and work on not letting my trust in my heavenly Father and my love for Him rest on whether or not He chooses, in His sovereignty, to heal my girl.

And, I think I’ve come through that.  It took me a while… maybe a year or so.  But, I no longer feel rejected by God, and I truly feel His presence powerfully in my life, and that is enough.  It really is.

And, that is why I felt… clean and safe (with caution), to visit a new doctor.  I was kind of thinking it might be a pediatric gastroenterologist.  But, my hubby wanted me to go to a naturopathic medical doctor, though he still thinks an NMD is more like a “normal”/allopathic doctor who has a bent toward natural treatment (or extra training, beyond an MD).  That’s not the case.  No matter.  Through the friend of an acquaintance, I found a particular doctor of whom encouraging things were spoken, AND the only insurance she takes is the kind I have.  Voila!  Fi is now a patient of Dr. Jesika DiCampli, though it is still a $50 co-pay.

We go again on Friday.

Before our first meeting, I was cautious, and not even optimistic.  Now, I’m cautiously optimistic.  The doctor didn’t find the Candida — it was my husband who suggested it, as his father has struggled for years with Candida overgrowth.  We’ll talk with her about it on Friday.

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*Though my primary purpose right now is not to lose weight — it’s to lose what appears to be Candida yeast running rampant in my body — I would like to lose more weight.  Here’s probably more than you care to know about my weight.  I’m 5’7.5″, and before I got married, I was 138 lbs.  After each child, I have “settled back” into weighing 155 lbs.  After I had Fiala, though, I was pretty stubbornly stuck at about 167-168, pretty much losing NONE of my pregnancy weight gain, since I’d only gained 17 lbs for her pregnancy.  I went on a Total Elimination Diet while I was nursing her, rather than risk her reacting badly to very pricey elemental formula, since she was having severe allergic reaction to what was in my breastmilk.  The allergist had told me that if she reacted as badly to the elemental formula as to my breastmilk, she would end up with a feeding tube.  I said, “No, thank you” and embarked on an extremely restrictive TED.  I lost more than 30 pounds, ending up at 135, less than I did when I was married at age 21!  While I enjoyed trying on size 6 slacks and having them be a tad too loose, that was short-lived.  After I stopped nursing Fiala in January 2010, I rebounded, over the course of about eight months, right back up to 165.  Over the last year or so, I’ve worked — a little — on dropping weight, and now hover around 155-156.  Yesterday, I weighed 155.9, today was 154.1.  So, now you know.  :D

Health stuff: Me, Fi, avocados, and candida.

  • After writing this, I thought, “How cliché!  I’m writing about a diet and it’s the new year, when everyone has made new commitments (again!) to some diet or another.”  But, for better or worse, that’s not what this post is about.
  • It appears my three-year-old, Fiala, has a crazy-bad body-wide yeast infection, and I was reading up on Candida overgrowth for Fi’s sake, when, to my particular interest, I read that Candida is frequently the source of hives in adults.  I’ve been getting intermittent hives for about the last two or three months, and the last two weeks have been AWFUL, with nightly hives (they’re always worse at night) and day-long burning and itching skin, especially on my hands, forearms, thighs, belly, and neck.  The whole world of Candida overgrowth is confusing and I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface.  Trying to establish some sort of anti-Candida protocol is really hard for a three-year-old;  you just can’t make them quaff a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, no matter how you disguise it.  For me, though, it’s a little easier.  I am embarking on a week-long cleanse.  I don’t even know if I’m doing it “right”;  I’m just following what seems logical:  Eating a all-sugar-free-even-honey-and-fruit, super-low-carb diet, basically a Paleo diet.  I’m counting my carbs (minus dietary fiber), and maxing them at 30g/daily.  I’m also supplementing with probiotics (lots) and with apple cider vinegar (lots).  Part of me is concerned that I don’t know enough to start the diet knowledgeably, but the other part of me has decided that doing the best I can, and adding to my knowledge as I proceed, is what I need to do, otherwise, I’ll keep dragging my feet and eating toffee.  :)  I figure that even if the hives are not from Candida, at least I’ll probably lose a few pounds this week.  At least, I hope I only have to do one week.  We’ll see.  Maybe it’ll be as easy as starting a gluten-free diet nine years ago, where I felt SO MUCH BETTER that how much “trouble” it was became a total non-issue, and I knew I could never go back.
  • The post from which this beautiful pic comes mentions the giant amount of "good" calories that come from avocados. For the record, I don't give a rip about calories, and my body doesn't, either. My body does, however, care about sugar. I can eat fat-laden meat and fruits and veggies and gallons of honey and never gain an ounce, but if I eat me some sugar, and too many grains, I *PACK* on the pounds. I think those Paleo folks are onto something.

    In news related to the above (and below), avocados, though they are technically a fruit, have NO sugar!  Well, not “no”:  An average-sized avocado has 0.4g sugar and 0.1g starch.  That’s pretty close to zero.  And they’re super high in fiber, avocados have a reasonable amount of protein (especially for a fruit!), and are crazy-high in Omega 6 fatty acids, and EFAs are also supposed to be good for Candida sufferers.  And, oddly enough, avocados are related to cinnamon!  I’ve long known that Fiala can handle cinnamon with no allergic reaction.  I wish I would have discovered the connection, long ago.  Fi’s been eating avocados like crazy the last week or so; a local grocer has them on sale for 4/$1.00 (Bashas’, for those readers in Arizona — the sale is good through Tuesday.)  I found this page very interesting;  it’s about different varieties of avocados.  I was trying to find what kind we have.  I’m still not sure.

  • Speaking of Fiala, you may have seen on OSC’s Facebook page that there was a chance she has Type I (juvenile) Diabetes.  I’m happy to announce that her urinalysis was clean — no glucose.  Part of me was kind of hoping that diabetes was at the heart of her life-long health struggles, because that would be a clear path, and it’s treatable.  But since she doesn’t… we’re back at square one.  I was really unhappy about that for a few days, and now I’m OK.  Better than OK, actually.  We see the naturopathic doctor again on Friday.  She’s planning on ordering up some blood tests based on what did or didn’t show on Fiala’s (very, very clean) urinalysis.  I’ll ask her about Candida then.
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