Sunday, November 28, 2010

Body Scanning

If you know me on Facebook, you will probably have noticed that I have been particularly appalled by the inhumanity and the unconstitutionality of the new policies and procedures utilized by the TSA.

I found this article by blogger Jason Bell, a molecular biologist and physicist working on his Ph.D. - who holds a particular interest in this area. It is well written, and pretty easy to understand why we should be concerned about the radiation issue regarding the scanners.

Big Changes

I mentioned recently that I recently have changed my diet because of celiac disease.

I've known for years that I don't react well to gluten, especially that foggy-headed feeling, fertility and cycle issues, emotional swings, etc. The times I have managed to get off of it, I have felt so much better, but since I had a polycystic ovarian syndrome diagnosis, my focus was always on the relationship that carbohydrate digestion had in relation to how I felt.

When I was on Atkins, I felt considerably better. Six years ago, when he still took insurance, I went to Dr. Mercola's clinic. The first thing they do (and I think it is being offered for free right now on his site), is metabolic typing, which is related to the work of Paul Chek and others (its not the blood test, but picks up on signs on how fast you digest, and whether you are digesting foods thoroughly). The right food for my metabolic type -- which was a fast oxidizer -- meaning I wasn't digesting much, and I needed higher fat/protein, and fewer carbohydrates. I did that for three months, and felt amazingly well (why I fell off is another story). Also they did sensitivity testing -- the kind where you hold a container holding a potential irritant, and they tell you to hold out your other arm, and try to press your arm down. I am highly skeptical of that, but I did not tell her about my known sensitivities to dairy and soy, and my suspicion about wheat, and I could discern no difference in how she pressed down on my arm, yet I couldn't hold my arm up against the pressure when I held those things, and also corn. I never even had skin contact with these, though. Maybe the body is much more aware of threats in our surroundings than we are consciously aware of.

But in my "on the go" lifestyle, I didn't seem to have enough motivation. Three months ago, though, I had surgery on an umbilical hernia caused by my c-section scar in my muscle wall opening up again. After that, things got worse. I've read on several sites that celiac can start after surgeries.

I was dealing with frequent diarrhea, and something called steatorrhea I'll let you read about it if you want to, because it's not pleasant, but its a sign that I wasn't absorbing nurients. My ability to cope and think straight were rapidly declining. When I had my check up with my endocrinologist, the blood tests came back very low for vitamin D, and I am taking a lot.

Given my experience before, and the fact that I also have pre-diabetes (hyper-insulinemia, insulin resistance, Syndrome has lots of names), my inclination has not been to go to substitute flours and products. I don't have the patience or desire to try a whole bunch of things that range from really bad to "almost as good as wheat," and to deal with my kids complaining about it. Rice flour and other flours are also just as much simple carbohydrate, and not good for my blood sugar issues. So after reading a lot about my options, looking at my past experience, I decided that Paleo eating was the best method for me and my family (though obviously, my family is not under the same level of restrictions. The kids can have treats, these treats are just not going to sit around the house).

Basically, paleo eating is based on the work of Dr. Loren Cordain. I reject the evolutionary basis of it, but still think know that this type of eating is fairly pleasant for me, seems to work well with my metabolism, and has a history of working well with people with metabolic issues and gluten issues, and has been known to reverse autoimmune damage such as Hashimotos, celiac, and even Diabetes type 1. It is simply eating meat, vegetables, and fruit. No grains, no sugar. Unlike Atkins, it doesn't restrict the amount of vegetables. The resource I am using most is a book by Robb Wolf, called The Paleo Solution, with more deference to grassfed meats, coconut oil and milk, etc.. It's a good read.

I know. Lots of people with celiac still eat rice, quinoa, and other grains, and what about beans? From what I have read in many sources, legumes and most grains, and particularly quinoa, while they don't contain gluten, still have chemicals in them that are supposed to irritate our gut -- and keep it from healing so that I start absorbing nutrients better again. The two most important of these irritants are saponins -- a soap like coating on grains and quinoa (quinoa has ALOT), and phytic acids. Some of these can be washed away or soaked in a slightly acidic water, but not all can be removed, so for that reason, all grains and legumes will be avoided -- except that my one "fast food" exception is a steak bowl at Chipotle - with rice and beans. It's my one coping fall back. I'm really not allowing others.

But I'm good at roasting or grilling. We already get grassfed meat and pastured chicken and eggs, and raw milk. So there's going to be a lot of taking care of my self, having soups made with my homemade bone broths, more coconut products than previously, because those are very healing to the gut and the immune system, and stuff like that.

Unfortunately, when diets change this drastically, there is a detox phenomenon. For some it is barely noticeable. For me, it often is. Sometimes it is getting really sick. More often it is getting really emotional. And going right from the emotions of the malabsorption I was experiencing to the detox of the diet change, it was really rough. And the toxins that are sometimes released are neurotransmitters that are linked to some very real issues. Considering that this last year has brought a lot of stress to the surface in regard to my parents and siblings, finances, my domestic abilities, and other issues, they are all coming back up.

And I do seem to be through most of it. I was really touched by my friends' responses (and the turkey soup!!!). Thank you, very much. You guys mean the world to me. You really do.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I took some dorky Facebook personality test a month or so ago, and it said that I make decisions based on trying to avoid regret. I had a friend respond that he thought nothing could be far from the truth. That amused me, because I was absolutely astonished --because I've never seen some off the wall statement like that have me pegged so well. And I don't think its a bad thing. It helps me put things into perspective.

Generally, I'm not talking "afraid of regrets," because often, no matter which decision is made, there are regrets. It doesn't do to be afraid of them, though I think that it is natural.

For instance -- my husband and I really had quite a rocky engagement. But through it, I consciously knew that guys like him were few and far between. And deep down, I knew that I was far more likely to regret sending him packing than I was to expend the effort to work our way through the problems.

As I expressed in my previous post, I get pretty torn up sometimes about being the homeschooling housewife. It wasn't what I planned. It isn't where my gifts are. But in the end, every time I looked at going to work with small children, and then what our educational alternatives are, I've come to the conclusion that my regret would be greater if I didn't stay with my children. What they would lose is greater than what I would gain.

Sometimes this philosophy has led me to embrace big changes. Other times, it has preserved the status quo. I can't say that my emotions are always in agreement...or that regret doesn't still rear its head, or that I don't get wistful for the things that I wanted, rather than what was more wise.

And yes...emotionally I'm doing better.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not Cut Out for This

(warning -- major really DON'T have to read this.)

I'm losing it today. I probably shouldn't, but I am.

I'm not domestic. I wasn't raised to be domestic. In fact, my parents did a terrible job imparting domestic skills to me. I got punished and berated quite frequently for not doing my chores right, being organized, etc., but they never bothered with actually teaching me HOW to do these things or imparting these habits. Being ten years younger than anyone else in my household, my mother just thought it simpler to clean when I wasn't around. The few chores they did give me, such as vacuuming, I never did right. No, that's not the way it was said. Usually, my mom would look over the room and say "You didn't vacuum this."

These skills didn't matter. I was going to go to college and have a career. That's what I was told was important from when I was little. They kind of overlooked the fact that I still have to live somewhere and eat...even without the unthinkable possibility that I might end up "wasting my life" at home with my kids, doing a sucky job keeping house.

So I suck...REALLY suck at keeping house. And I hate it. Not that I haven't done Flylady, read books, etc. I still suck. And for this post, please spare me the "this worked for me bit." Because that's not the point.

I can say that I understand the VALUE of keeping house. I respect the sanctity of the home, the love that it imparts to my family, and the noble ideas of it all. But I still hate it. I WANT to like it. I know all about the doctine of vocation, too, and so I don't need to hear from the traditionalists who want to tell me that if I wanted to do anything else, I would be disobeying God's will. Bite me.

I went to college to be a therapist, to interact with the world. To help others. Now eighteen years later, I still don't have that frigging Masters degree done because of kids and moves and other stuff. I know that raising good kids is probably the best way to help the world not go down the toilet. I even know that to a large extent, despite all my "issues," I'm erasing a lot of the damage that my parents passed on to me.

I have managed to teach myself to cook, and I'm damn good at it. But cooking means cleaning. It's a never ending Sisyphean battle. When I clean, I find that I get extremely angry. I feel the paralyzing rage that I felt being stuck in those no-win situations growing up. I can just feel it flood up within me....which is probably the plus side of my also not doing a good job of imparting these skills to my children.

When I was growing up, the promise of the future was that I would be able to study something I was interested in and spend my life doing something that I enjoyed. Instead, 80% of my life SHOULD be devoted to something that I completely despise and suck at (and I'd be happy just to feel like I merely tolerate it). And I am surrounded by the proof that I suck at it.

This has become all the more clear this week, because I generally avoid the distress by eating out way too much, because eating out means no dishes, no food falling on the floor, etc. But I recently learned that I have celiac disease...or at least all the symptoms of it. There are now very few places that I CAN eat, especially cheaply (and no, I don't want the list of those, either). This is probably a blessing in disguise, because it means that rather than cooking 3-4 times a week, I am cooking every day, for most all meals (and no, I really don't want any advice here, either...or any recommendations on great gluten free pasta or baking products). I've lost ten pounds, and health-wise, I feel better, and the rushed trips to the bathroom have lessened considerably. But it means I am even more immersed in dishes and dirty floors, and stoves that need cleaned, and more time in a house that is a constant reminder of my inadequacies.

And I still suck at it.

I am completely overwhelmed.

I know I finally need to grow up and finally do this. But right now, I just want to hide in bed and cry...and punch something...repeatedly.

Thanks for listening. I may want some of those tips on all of these things later. Just not now.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ways to Show Appreciation for Your Pastor's Wife

I saw this tweeted today. Thought I'd post it. Pass it on :)

Ways to Show Appreciation for Your Minister's Wife

NaBloPoMo: Favorite Song

What was your favorite song this year? Five years ago? Ten years ago? Twenty?

"If It's Love" by Train. Its unique but it glories in simple love, which is rare anymore.

Five years ago? No clue. I even looked at the Billboard Lists for 2005, and the only thing I remember was "Honkytonk Badonkadonk." And that wasn't exactly a pleasant memory.

Ten years ago - "Carlene" by Phil Vassar.

Twenty years ago: Oh wow. I was 19 then, so EVERY song had some deep, intense meaning to me (well, except "Do Me" by Bel Biv Davoe)

But it had to be Wilson Philip's "Hold On" was my anthem. I had just moved out of my parents' house, was in college, and dealing with lots of "codependency issues," because that's what they called it then. I'd be more embarrassed about that, but it was # 1 for the year. :)

Not only that but Chynna Phillips had awesome hair.

Monday, November 01, 2010

If Housing Was Free (NaBloPoMo entry)

How would your life change if you didn't have rent or a mortgage to pay, i.e., if your housing was free?

There are many people who think that since we live in a parsonage, my home is free. It's not. When a parsonage is part of the package, the salary is significantly less. The district guidelines calculates its value at 25% of salary. Basically, 25% of my husband's paycheck is automatically withdrawn before we are paid. So if my home were free, our household income would increase by 25%. That would be a nice raise.


While many of you are doing National Novel Writing Month or whatever its called, I've decided to give this a try this month....looks interesting, and might get me back into the habit.