Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Elimination Diet Begins

I'd like to think that we eat fairly healthy meals here in our home. We do eat at home around the table most of the time. We tend to avoid prepackaged meals as much as possible. More than anything, this has to do with cost. I've learned that it's not as hard as it seems to make something from scratch. There is a lot of cost that goes into those grocery store packages, preservatives and transportation costs. But, nonetheless, even though I assemble our meals, most of our foods are well processed, especially our snacks.

Over time it's become more apparent that not all foods are agreeing with all the people in this house. Three of the kids have regular bloating and stomach aches. Two have eczema. The youngest two have extremely dry skin and the beginnings of what will be much worse eczema if allowed to continue. Two have recurrent fluid in the ears and infections. I have a crazy thyroid cyst and Sean teeters on the edge of high cholesterol. I've also noticed some of the kids really struggling some days with retention and concentration in school. They say it feels like they are in a fog or that their brain feels "fuzzy".

As this whole scene has unfolded in the past few months, it has sent me on a reading frenzy. Some of the books I've read have been:

Understanding Childhood Eczema

Discover your hidden food allergies and lose weight

Food Allergies and Food Intolerance

Allergy Exclusion Diet

The End of Overeating

When I learned that my friends from church, Heidi and Michelle, had done the elimination diet with great results, we began to consider if this would be a viable option for our family. (Let me know if you want the specific information and I'll send it your way.)

In short, we will be eliminating 11 groups of food completely from our diet for three weeks. These groups are: gluten grains, dairy, soy, corn, peanuts, eggs, nightshades, red meats, caffeine, alcohol and sugar.

This process should clear out the system of any current food sensitivities. Then it will be a systematic introduction of each group with a tracking of any allergic/sensitive responses such as increased pulse, temperature, hives, upset stomach, irritability.....

We've been anticipating this now for over a month and for the most part everyone is on board. Today we cleaned out the pantry, fridge and freezer making those foods inaccessible. We stocked the shelves with our new staples so that all is ready for Monday morning. I'll be updating this blog on our progress, recipes, price/product comparisons and results.

As one would imagine, we've thoroughly enjoyed Thanksgiving. For our last day of "normal" eating, calzones and omelets have been unanimously requested.



Saying good bye for now.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

50% Safe

I've been on a cleaning spree lately. The kids keep reminding me that it's Fall, not Spring. "All the more reason to move the furniture and get rid of stuff", I say.

Today I was working diligently upstairs and after about an hour wondered what the children might be doing so quietly and independently. They were happily playing in the garage.

Later, Besty came and asked if I would like to see the "game" they made up. "It's 100% safe, Mom." Joseph interrupted, "Well, it's about 50% safe."

In case you can't tell, this is John and Rebekah on a sled on top of the chest freezer being pulled down onto a pile of winter coats and snowsuits. No worries, though, because Joseph is the "lifeguard." Besides, Rebekah tells John, "Trust God."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving thoughts

This is by far my favorite time of year. Perhaps it is because I'm introspective, but I truly enjoy contemplating and remembering in thankfulness the past year. There is something beautiful about coming around the same table again with the same loved ones and realizing how much we have experienced, grown and changed. Sometimes it's in the face of hardship. Other times it is the result of pure joy.

One of my favorite verses is found in 1 Timothy 6:6, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." It comes to my mind often, especially when I'm grumbling in my heart or uncertain about what the future holds. It reminds me that true contentment is directly from the heart of God. I can't "make" myself satisfied by pretending it or thinking it or filling myself up with the stuff of this world.

And when contentment like this is realized, then the gratitude abounds. To me that is a picture of what Thanksgiving is about. It's recognizing that all is from the hand of God and ,therefore, we must give thanks. It's declaring, "Lord, in you I need nothing else."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Coming of Age

Wow, has this past week been about the most fun ever! Hannah turned 13 on Wednesday, the day that Sean and I were scheduled to leave town. He was speaking in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday and I had purchased my ticket months ago in anticipation of joining.

Secretly, we planned to take Hannah along with us as a surprise birthday present. It's been hard knowing for months and not sharing the excitement. We even had her pack her bags for her friend's house. Once all of the other kids were dropped off, we pulled the van over and got out so that she could open her gift. It was her plane ticket and letters from Sean and I. She was shocked, to say the least. We made it to the airport just in time to board. So fun!!

Hannah's first flight. Playing Pass the Pigs.

While Sean was working at the Conference, Hannah and I worked through Passport to Purity. We giggled a lot, as well as had some deep, honest conversations. The Lord was good to provide us with such a special get-away to have these conversations. No pressures, no interruptions, no time constraints. It was perfect.

Florida sunset.

More than anything, we wanted Hannah to know how much we love and trust her. It's been our privilege to see her growing into the young woman that God has called her to be. We talked a lot about what life was like when it was just the three of us in our little apartment. Her daddy couldn't wait to get home to see her every afternoon. And I could not have asked for a better companion to pass the days.

At the completion of Passport to Purity, we met up with Sean for dinner at an Italian restaurant where he presented her with a pearl ring. *sniff*

The last two days we spent sightseeing around Fort Lauderdale and enjoying the incredible weather. I kept having to pinch myself.

The largest cruise ship in the world came to dock while we were there. We could see it from our hotel balcony.

This was the hotel pool. This is the kind of hotel that corporations pay to have people stay in- a far cry from our usual Residence Inn.

Hannah and I took this water taxi around and saw some insanely large yahts and homes owned by famous people.

At the beach.

Our last lunch by the ocean.

I could not have asked for a better way to celebrate coming into the teenage years. It's new territory for all of us. I don't doubt that we will have some bumps along the way, but I'm certain that God's Word will guide us through as well as a mutual respect and love for one another.

I walked away from this weekend more in love with Hannah than ever. She is a beautiful, determined, independent and Godly young woman. I'm truly blessed to be her mom.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Catching Up

Time is just ticking along. It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just two weeks away. Here's just a snapshot of what's going on in our house these days:

- We are in the process of celebrating Hannah's 13th birthday- a sleepover with friends last Friday, a dessert open house on Saturday, and an open house with the Indianapolis Fever tomorrow night. But, the best is still yet to come! That's all I can say about that:) Stay tuned.

- God is doing amazing things in our childrens' hearts! It seems each day lately has been filled with a new realization of God's forgiveness and new questions about what it means to be a Christian. I'm in awe at the Lord's individual work in their lives. He's calling out to them one by one. They are responding and growing.

- Our homeschool group has ended for the semester. It will be nice to have some more concentrated time at home, yet the friends will be missed.

- I'm loving the local library which offers homeschool classes on a regular basis. It helps that one of the librarians is a homeschool mom herself. The oldest three just took a class on giving a powerpoint presentation. I was impressed with what the produced and presented.

- I have been going to the chiropractor and rehab since the beginning of the semester. Thankfully, I've gotten much relief and now have moved on to the final phase. Apart from my ice skating mishap on Friday, it's wonderful to not be in continual discomfort.

- I'm doing a few projects around the house. My favorite is repainting the baseboard and doors which currently have flat paint that just smears the dirt when being washed. I'm trying to do a bit each night after the kids are in bed. It's rewarding to finally fix what has been annoying me for a long time.

-I'm preparing our pantry for the Elimination Diet that we will all be starting after Thanksgiving. This has entailed making a lot of unsweetened applesauce, as well as creatively using what's in the pantry. We are hoping to get to the bottom of some consistent reactions the kids have been having with eczema and digestive problems.

So, what's been going on in your world?