Sunday, March 9, 2014

The potty tantrums

Since my daughter has turned 3, her tantrums have taken on a whole new face. She is now old enough where she wants to exert her own will and make her own choices. This has resulted in tantrums about chocolate milk, tantrums about her brother looking at her, and the potty.

I hate the potty tantrums, with a capital H.

It's something that began very innocently. In an effort to help her become more independent, we taught her to tell us she had to go potty when we were out so as to save her the embarrassment of an accident while at the store. This part of the equation has worked out wonderfully.

Then there is the flip side. She WILL NOT go potty at home unless we grant her permission when she tells us she has to go potty. So when we hear her say "I have to go potty." we have to respond "Okay, go potty." and off she will run. She dumps it, flushes, and washes her hands. Total success. #2's she will call for us to come and clean up. Which that is fine. Don't mind it one bit.

What the problem is, is when we don't hear her or respond in time to her "I have to go potty." cry. Like this morning when I was in the shower. The water is going and the fan is running. Do I hear her outside the bathroom door? No. My oldest announces in his normal voice that she has to go potty. But it is too late. I hear her bedroom door slam and the tantrum has begun. This happens almost daily. It happens when I'm trying to get us out the door for school, to the store, bath time, you name it. The result is a little girl who is ticked off beyond belief because I didn't give her permission to pee, who is now wet, rolling around in a fists of fury tantrum.
This morning was no exception. I was able to sidetrack her with coaxing about seeing her friends, being able to sing songs, have snacks, etc. Gratefully, it wasn't a total wardrobe loss, but it required a change of underpants and stockings. Then the demon reared it's head again while she was going potty and refused to get off of the potty so we could go.

I am so tired of fighting with a half naked mini beast.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Thoughts while traveling

Apart from being on the verge of starving most of the time while hunting for food that I can eat and scouring through restaurant menus, hoping that the clues from the basic ingredients are enough to guide me.
I've become very aware of how hard it is to live in today's modern world with a food allergy.

I brought some basics with me: gluten free cereal, kale chips, almond butter, coconut milk yogurt and pop tarts (hey, they were on sale). But I have since learned a lot of the harsh realities of how hard it really is. The corner store offered some tidbits, but there wasn't 1 item that could be dubbed meal worthy (not even a frozen dinner). Everything contains what I cannot eat; meat, dairy or gluten.

The first day of our trip, my food was breakfast, since everything in the breakfast bar offered at the hotel (except for fruit) was out. Indian food was a decent lunch and Chinese veggie rice was a scanty dinner. Despite 2 helpings.

Breakfast is probably the hardest because I miss sausages and bagels probably the most. I have succeeded in finding gluten free bagels, but they are a sad replacement to a Bruegers (which there either that or a DD at EVERY corner here).

The second day was harder. We ate a sit down dinner at PF Chang's, which despite their generosity at having a vegetarian menu, I'm am almost positive as I write this that the tofu was tipped in something. Dinner was a choice of the lesser of the two evils, Meat or Dairy? My option of going with dairy is not boding well. Despite topping it off with more kale chips.

As I write this sitting here lamenting the contents of my stomach and how I have nothing to eat. Someone who has been eating something they shouldn't have has just been loaded into an ambulance across the street at a pizza place. I may complain about my diet, but that is the reason I do it.

At least I hope that's what the result won't be.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer Vacation, apparently for the birds

I know this article bit is mostly opinion, but it is the type of opinion that makes me want to smash something.
This bit shows the low opinions that most people have of our school system and our teachers. At the end of the article I was left with nothing more than the feeling that this writer is part of the mass that sees our schools as nothing more than babysitting system. Is it an inconvenience that school takes a break during the year? Yes, but most cities and states have created programs, at low or no cost, to help out the parents who were using the school as a babysitting service while they were at work. I have apathy for single parents, most of them ended up that way unintentionally. Either by divorce or death but, then we also have those that ended up there by their own stupidity. In my opinion, if you want your child to have a good start, start being a good parent. If you cannot afford to send your child to the fancy summer camps, then look into the summer programs that your city or state may offer. If anything it is only 2 1/2 months that we are really talking about.

Let’s abolish summer vacation
Allowing schools to close their doors every summer undermines their purpose, and widens the class gulf between rich and poor.
There are few more cherished American traditions than the summer vacation, said Matthew Yglesias. Many of us have nostalgic memories of long days chasing fireflies, selling lemonade, and going to sleepaway camp. But for underprivileged Americans and their kids, “summer vacation is a disaster.” Research has shown that the average student “loses” about a month of schooling over the summer break—but poorer students lose far more than wealthier kids. In fact, they “fall further behind each and every summer.” While wealthier parents spend thousands of dollars to send their kids off to enriching experiences at camp or on trips, working-class single moms are “put in a nearly impossible situation,” having to somehow watch and occupy their kids while holding down a job. Schools are a public service, and no other public service just “vanishes for months at a time.” Imagine the reaction if police, air traffic controllers, or bus drivers vacationed en masse. Education is just as important to society as law and order—and allowing schools to close their doors every summer “critically undermines” their purpose, and widens the class gulf between rich and poor. School “should happen all year round.”

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Becoming a believer

2 weeks into going Gluten Free and I have to say that this has been an eye opening experience. Not only in how gluten is in EVERYTHING but in how much happier my stomach has been. I no longer suffer from painful bloating, which I honestly thought I only suffered when I ate dairy. This explains why despite being dairy free for 10 years I still would suffer bouts of severe stomach pain and rude gas. To the point that it would take my breath away (not the gas but the pain).
I feel normal. Or as normal as I have in years.
I am not suffering. I had my ice cream and brownie sundae this evening. I will miss the textures of some things, but I am finding recipes that can be tweaked and if not, well I really don't need to eat them anyway. Bread has been hard though. I've never been a big fan of toasted bread sandwiches but toasting it seems to be the only way it stays together. 

As far as my Lupus symptoms are concerned. The biggest difference is my face. 
The skin on my face was part of the reason why I caved to take the medication. Yes, my vanity shined through like a light in the dark. I have always taken pride in how I was never ridden with a pizza face and how I never needed layers of makeup to cover anything other than a random zit. 

My face was rough, pimpled, itchy, and embarrassing. People I worked with kept asking why my face looked so bad. Family and friends asked too, but were a bit more polite about it. My uncle jokingly asked if the fleas were bothering me, I shot back that it was only the howling that bothered me. 
But despite my joking. It did bother me. I've never been model thin and have always had self esteem issues to boot. But my face was my pride and having it suddenly plagued and ravaged was a deep blow. 

Having said all this, being GF for 2 weeks has done more than almost 5 months of medication has. My face is scarred now, yes. But it doesn't itch, there is no scaly build up and it isn't a mess of pimples or swelling. 

This is my face pre pregnancy. The flash made me a bit pale here, but I've always had rosy cheeks. My great grandma said it was because I ate too many strawberries.

This is me after having my son. They got a little more rosy, but I thought it was due to weight gain.

My silly face while pregnant with my daughter.

My cheeks were always pink/rosy after having her. Once again I thought it was just because of weight gain.

So, a determined me started to work on my weight. It flared out worse. This was when it was borderline unbearable. Dry looking, bumpy, red and itchy as heck. (My hair was also at it's thinnest here.) This is how it looked when I started the medication.

This is it a four months later. The bumps are still there, I was still battling the itchy dry skin and never ending zits.

This is a week into going GF. The red is still there, but the dry skin has subsided and the itching is gone.

This was this past weekend. My cheeks are scarred now, I'm sure of it. But the micro zits, itching, dry skin build up and pain are gone. It is still sensitive, like when I scratch it absent minded, but it is so much better than it was. 

I am convinced that I may be a carrier for Lupus or it might be enough of a blip to cause immune/intestinal issues. But I am starting to doubt if what I have is really Lupus or if it is just a side effect of my forcing my body to digest foods that it cannot handle. I never really had these problems when I was younger but having two children has probably changed my body in more ways that I previously thought. My next test will be when I switch to a more holistic minded Rhematologist. I am curious to see how I do without the medication, but I am positive that unless I find a more holistic minded doctor, it will be a self run experiment. Which I don't feel 100% confident in doing without supervision. Maybe I am fooling myself and it's actually the medication kicking in fully. But, just maybe, it is just was my diet. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gut Healing

I have been doing a lot of reading online lately. To the point at times of making my head want to explode, but it hasn't yet.  Mostly it has been reading about the connections found by homeopaths of Leaky Gut, Gluten Intolerance and Autoimmune disorders. Most importantly Lupus, which is the disorder that I have been dealing with. I had started taking medication for it, but it had a very negative effect on me mentally.  I felt like I had lost my battle to it. That my own physical health was no longer in my control. That is a very hard thing to grasp. It brought around bouts of depression that I drowned out by binge eating things that I had been avoiding for the past few years. This of course made my feel worse, but sated my monster briefly.

Then something happened that changed my perspective and brought about my late night readings online. One of my best friends infant daughter developed severe food allergy eczema brought on by the food my friend was eating while breastfeeding. I have to emphasize on serious huge broken out patches of skin that are weeping blood and puss. So in desperation she went on an extreme elimination diet and as a result her daughters skin improved by 75%. This of course was after her late night reading sessions, finding out the there is such a thing as steroid cream addiction, and that she is also allergic to detergent sulfates. As well as a mass of other things that continue to pop up like some kind of terrible whack a mole game.

Her daughter has an overactive immune system.

This got me thinking about my own body, which then lead me into the realms of Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Disorder definitions and treatments.

The trouble with Lupus is simple. There is no one treatment, the same way there is no one symptom. It is a conglomerate disorder. There are other disorders that mimic Lupus and people are often misdiagnosed with other issues when the issue is Lupus. The whole thing is very very gray. The biggest problem is that this leaves doctors with very little to work with, some limited studies and only one medication that has alleviated the general symptoms.

Then I read this article by FOODMATTERS: Natural Ways to Prevent and Reverse Autoimmune Disorders. .  It brought up some points and things to consider that I never really gave any thought. I have had my vitamin supplements that I've been taking religiously since day one. Apart from my breakdown, I had been sticking to a dairy, citrus, nightshade plant, and sugar free diet. I had never considered that something as simple as not chewing my food into a pulp could of been part of the problem, nor that I could possibly have a gluten intolerance as well (*What Doctor's Don't Tell You).

As a mom, food has become a luxury and the idea of being able to eat anything some days is almost a pipe dream. So the concept of the damage I may of done by forcing my stomach to digest whole chunks of quickly ingested food, actually made me feel horrible. My body is already working double time trying to heal itself and here I am making it work harder.

So, I made the decision to go gluten free, vegetarian and to sit and chew my gosh darn food. This of course being added to what I have been already doing. So I am basically a gluten free vegan for lack of a better term. It sounds horrible I know. But what has helped me is visualizations. I have been picturing my stomach like my friend's daughter's inflamed skin. If I eat something that I'm not supposed to, I picture it wounded, open, bloody and weeping. Like something from the ICU of a hospital. I have to do this, because there is no external cue that what I just ate is bothering me. It's all inside.

So far I am into day 5 and let me tell you. My stomach feels so happy right now. I am much less gassy and bloated than I have been in a long time. If anything I have noticed effects from foods that I have eaten today that I now know I can't eat again or at least for a while. For example, I take a daily health tonic called Fire Cider. I started taking it daily to combat the symptoms from the Raynaud's Syndrome I recently developed. It's got quite a kick to it. Well, today I took it for the first time in a few days and my stomach burned immediately after I took it. Not like heartburn, it was as though I had swallowed a match. It happened again later when I bought something to eat at work. I don't know if it's happened before because I don't know if I was paying close attention to what my gut was telling me before. Or if I even suffered a single phenomenon like that because my entire gut was a war zone. Who notices a single bomb when they are going off all around?

My goal with this is not be on my medication anymore. If it is something that is controllable with drastic diet changes for the rest of my life. I am fine with that. The long term effects of that will not cause cancer nor cause me to go blind, like the side effects of my medication.

I'm a big girl. I can eat my soy and kale.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


So, despite all my hopes my sons bad cavity had to be filled since it had actually become a hole in his tooth. Though, that being said, two of the other "stain" cavities have gone and we have one at a stand still. Same with my daughters cavity. They aren't getting worse, but the stain is still there. I will gladly take that for now.

I am going to try the xylitol in the next batch I make since my children cannot get over the taste of it without some sweetening. I myself love the tooth powder and the "mud" version of it. (It literally looks like you just squeezed mud onto your toothbrush thanks to the bentonite clay). It's very similar to the Earth Paste that is for sale in health stores and on amazon. Only for mine I didn't use the xylitol.  My teeth went through a brief period of being hyper-sensitive to hot/cold and sweet, yet it was over in a few days and hasn't returned. Which is nice because despite having used Sensodyne and other sensitive teeth products I still had bouts of sudden pain.

Moving on, I wish I could say that I had had success going completely no poo. I don't think I ever will be able to since I am an avid runner and am a sweaty matted mess 5 days a week. My children on the other hand have fantastic hair now. I will have to note that the shampoo did ferment really quickly on me thanks to the heat we have been suffering through lately.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Truly Soap Free Shampoo

I've attempted going no-poo before, but the apple-cider vinegar and baking soda route always left my head sore and my hair oily. I never seemed to be able to get the formula right despite the tweeking. So I had given up for a while, until I was gifted this recipe from a lady who works in the wellness department of my local co-op.  She said it can be used as a shampoo and a gel if needed. The best thing is there is NO SOAP of any kind in it.


I am still in the transitioning phase from using shampoo to this, but my kids hair is already fantastic. It is soft, shiny and just so nice.

Basic Soap Free Shampoo

- 1 cup flaxseeds
- 4 cups distilled water
- 1 wedge of orange and lemon

- Place into a non-reactive pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 mins, stirring occasionally so the seeds don't stick to the bottom.
- Strain out seeds and citrus wedges. Pour into a shampoo bottle.

This formula doesn't create the magnificent suds you are used to. It may only make a little bit if any. You can tell by how your hair feels where it is.