Monday, December 11, 2006

Another view of war and peace

This post in another blog talks about the poster's experiences in Afghanistan. I haven't been there myself, but it sounds like quite a different life from the States. I think it's a bit controversial. Have you read it?

Friday, December 08, 2006

C has grown so much

C has grown so much, I can hardly believe it. He's 3 3/4 now, and is 43 inches tall. He's about 37 pounds or so, although it's not the same twice. He eats a lot for such a little kid. He can eat a whole cantelope himself in a couple of hours, which is more than I could do. He has taken to eating for breakfast the following combination: a one-egg omelet with cheese on it, a turkey dog (eaten like sausage), and homemade frozen yogurt (we call it ice cream). He also ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich this morning. He seems to be able to handle rye sourdough bread -- too bad it's like $5.00 for a quarter of a loaf at the health food store! Regular bread makes him wet his pants, due to the gluten in it. But at least I can buy bread instead of having to make it from cashew butter like I was doing (he can't stand that because it requires the use of the food processor, which is too noisy for him).

Anyway, he is so strong, and so helpful around the house. He likes to put away laundry in the dresser drawers. Any excuse to run from room to room, really.

More later...

Looking for Longleaf

This sounds interesting: Looking for Longleaf: The Fall and Rise of an American Forest . This book is on my brother's wishlist. It's about how the longleaf pine forest is basically extinct. Yet another victim of progress. If I had a few extra hours, I might take a peek at it. Maybe I'll put it on hold at the library! Any light reading in your wishlist, bro? What about a nice copy of Randy Travis Platinum Collection or Dangerous Man by Trace Adkins?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Omaha Steaks: grain fed steaks

Omaha Steaks
So, Omaha Steaks is what we get every year from some relatives. They are very much grain fed, which makes them fattier and more tender, and much less healthy. What about Niman Ranch beef instead? Is it any more healthy? It sure is a LOT more expensive! No hormones, no antibiotics, and traditionally raised, so it is over $100 for just 5 flank steaks. Wow! And these cows are still not fully grass fed, so their fat is still low in the healthy omega 3 fatty acids that make grass fed beef healthier. If this is what there is, I'll just have beans, thank you!

Might as well say that we may or may not get some of these steaks in the mail for Christmas this year. We have gotten them every year for several years from some relatives of Bill's, but there is a bit of a problem going on between his mom and them, so I'm wondering what will happen. He never calls them because he's so uncomfortable with it all. Every family has its oddities, of course. It's just too bad that Chris is in the middle of it all (and Bill as well, really). Why can't people just get along?

It snowed!

Finally getting around to posting: it snowed here last week, and it even stayed on the ground here for a couple of days. And out farther, it was still on the ground yesterday! Isn't that cool? We got about two inches, but only about half an inch stuck to the ground. The car got all two inches on it. I should have taken photos, but we need a new camera battery. Anyway, we had some fun cleaning off the car and made some snowballs. Not really enough for a snowman/person. Bill went in to work anyway, and was one of the only ones there. Microsoft was closed! Those folks are spoiled in some ways, although they also work insane hours many times.

Hope you all are having a wonderful winter!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

celiac disease -- whatever happened to the old cure for it?

This is in regard to the Wikipedia entry for Celiac disease, which states, "At this time no medication will prevent damage, nor prevent the body from attacking the gut when gluten is present. The disease is controlled by strict adherence to a gluten-free diet, which allows the intestines to heal and resolves all symptoms in the vast majority of cases..."
It contradicts itself later, however, by stating. "Even while on a diet, health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is decreased in people with coeliac disease. Some have persisting digestive symptoms or dermatitis herpetiformis, mouth ulcers, osteoporosis and fractures." (there is more, too, but you get the point. I'm amazed that mainstream medicine still stands by this, despites lots of doubts about what really causes celiac disease and what can be done about it.

There is an alternative diet to the gluten free diet, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (TM), which restricts not only gluten containing grains such as wheat, rye, and barley, but also all grains (including rice and corn) and most complex carbohydrates including potatoes, most beans (including soy and pinto), and other starchy vegetables and all sweeteners except for honey and saccharine. This diet is based on the idea that the gut is damaged by an imbalance of intestinal flora, and that the unfriendly flora must be starved off by depriving them of food. The diet only allows carbohydrates that are monosaccharides such as those in fruits, sweet vegetables such as squash, non-starchy veggies such as broccoli and zucchini, and honey. All fermentable carbohydrates are removed from the diet to allow the gut to rest and heal. This diet was first developed to treat celiac disease, but fell out of favor because of its difficulty to maintain and further studies that pointed to gluten, a protein, rather than starch, as the culprit in celiac.

There is a small minority of people who believe that celiac disease, irritable bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, and even perhaps autism, are all caused by carbohydrate intolerance rather than gluten intolerance. This is because only monosaccarides can be digested completely by the human digestive system and absorbed properly. All other carbohydrates cause problems, particularly if there is intestinal damage such as that caused by coeliac disease. The complex carbohydrates, disaccharides and polysaccharides, are not properly digested in the stomach, and go on to feed unfriendly intestinal flora such as Candida albicans, which in turn cause more intestinal damage. Thus, this vicious cycle causes increasing damage to the intestines and an out of control imbalance of intestinal microflora.

It turns out humans never really were meant to be eating starches, especially in the huge quantities most modern diets -- not just the US diet, but most around the world (other than traditional Arctic people and a few other isolated groups). It was less than 10,000 years ago that humans started to live settled enough and farm enough that they could grow large quantities of crops, including grains. Before that, most humans ate meat, fruit, vegetables, some tubers and a few grains gathered a few weeks a year, doled out very frugally throughout the year. And only a thousand or so more years before that were we regularly cooking our foods, so we really couldn't eat grains or tubers. Many people's bodies have adapted to this new diet, but many have not, and celiac disease is just one sign that it's an ill-suited diet.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet(TM) solves this problem. It does not restrict protein foods such as meats, and allows some beans, such as lentils and navy beans once healing is well under way. It includes dairy, although in cases where dairy is not tolerated it can be excluded as well. This diet was developed in the early 20th Century, and was commonly used as recently as the 1950s to treat Celiac disease. (Haas SV and Haas MP: Management of celiac disease, p x. J B Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 1951)

Monday, November 20, 2006

What did we do today? What should we have done?

Often, right before he goes to sleep, ds will ask me, "what did we do today?" He likes to hear about what we did, maybe because he finds it comforting, maybe because he forgets. Anyway, today, it felt like "what did I do today?" or "what should we have done today" because we had kind of a lousy day. It's raining, ds had a tantrum, we didn't really do much fun stuff. I feel like a bad mommy for not doing more fun stuff with ds. I feel like he's using his DVD player for a replacement mommy.
Today started out like many days. I made breakfast, almond flour porrige (which ds asked for and used to eat). He refused to eat it, and only ate an apple. He is a very picky eater, by the way. Anyway, we went to my doctor's office for my cranial sacral therapy appointment (he had some goat milk yogurt in the waiting room), then we stopped at a supplements store for cod liver oil. DS got a raw vegan energy bar, which he devoured. When we got home, he had a tantrum. Was it the energy bar on basically an empty stomach? Going to the doctor's office (where he watched his DVD player while I got my treatment)? Was it something else? Well, he ended up falling asleep, which is not something he usually does anymore. He had been running around at the doctor's office in the waiting room, and one of the receptionists said "I wish I had his energy." Little did they know it was being hyper. And that he would collapse a short while later.
Why won't he eat better? Why does he ask for food that he then doesn't eat? Why does he eat so many sweets? Well, it's the candida, duh! But why can't we kick it? Why does a kid have to go through this? Why can't he be healthy? I am so tired of these worries. I don't know what to do.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Probiotics are cool

What don't probiotics do? It would seem nothing! They help with many things, including digestion of oxalates (in many things such as most veggies and nuts), which helps with mineral absorbtion. They help digest carbohydrates. They fight yeast infections. They help absorbtion of other nutrients. They are just so cool. How do you get them? Naturally fermented foods are the best sources, like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut (homemade without vinegar), and other similar foods. There are plenty of pills and powders, too, but they are usually less effective. Some people are very allergic to dairy, and have to take extra precaustions in finding fermented foods or probiotic supplements they can handle. I am fairly reactive to cow's milk dairy, although goat's milk yogurt doesn't seem to be a problem for me, fortunately. I didn't like goat's milk yogurt until I got fresh goat's milk. I prefer it raw, if possible, but it is very expensive. It's almost $9.00 for half a gallon. I would love to have my own goats to milk so I could save a bit, but then that would be a lot of work. Not to mention the land for them would be pricey, at least around here. See why I call this my ramblings :=?
Here are some links:

More later! I am needed to get ds ready for bed.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Jokes about congress I've gotten in my inbox

I got an email the other day with these jokes about congress, apparently related to the Tom Foley fiasco:
Q:Why don't members of congress need bookmarks?
A: They bend over the pages

Q. What is the difference between Congress and the Library of Congress?
A. At the Library of Congress, you aren't allowed to lick the pages.

This was from a church email list, by the way. But it was a Unitarian church group, and in Washington state. tee hee.

The rains are here! Is this 50 days and 50 nights or what?

So, it's the second week of November, and it's been raining nearly constantly for over a week, I think, and is supposed to rain every day for the next two weeks or so at least. See: Oh, and it's supposed to get colder, too! There are flooded basements, flooded rivers, and even some cancelled schools. Sure, this is the Seattle area, known for its rainy weather, but this is ridiculous! I lived in Northern California, which does get a winter rainy season although it's shorter and drier, but it did not prepare me for this thing of days and days going by without any dry days. And for such a rainy place, it really doesn't have a lot of things to do with kids that are indoors. Sure, towns have recreation centers with some periods of indoor play, but they are for toddlers mostly. Oh, wait, that's right, most kids over two are in daycare or school now, so their parents don't have to take them to the park. No wonder! Yet another problem with being a homeschooler (sort of) in a world where school is starting younger and younger.
I don't like the extremely dry air in places like Tucson, AZ but envy them their sun and warmth. I would like the warm and the sun without the incredibly dry air or the unbearably hot summers. Is ther such a place? I'd like the humidity to be about 50% all year, with a variation of temperature from about 55 degrees in the winter to about 85 degrees in the summer, with a long warm spring and fall. Sigh. Rain isn't all bad, it's just when that's all there is that it gets to be a downer. It would be nice to have some sun every once in awhile. Even just an hour a day, sheesh!

Friday, October 13, 2006

World On Fire

$5,000 could cover the cost of hair and make-up for one day on set in LA or pay for one year’s schooling for 145 girls in Afghanistan. Sarah McLachlan does the math and encourages you to join her.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Walk Slowly, Live Wildly

Walk Slowly, Live Wildly
What an interesting blog. Sara and her family have moved into a tiny one bedroom apartment from a big house, and downsized majorly. I couldn't do what she did, especially since she's still got parents to hold onto some of her stuff (the benefits of having kids young -- living grandparents!). But the way she makes her little place look -- wow! That I want. I want to create a livable, beautiful home with functional but nice looking furniture. I want to be able to create a home that I would post pictures of on the web, and invite people over! I want a nice place, and her blog makes it abundantly clear it doesn't have to be huge to be nice and homey.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Thought I would list the supplements I'm taking:
sodium ascorbate, about 6 grams a day
5 HTP (am going to stop on that for a bit to see if ds's mood gets better -- he's been bossy and angry a lot, and I'm thinking it might be what he's getting in my breastmilk, even though he hardly nurses)
St. John's Wort
sodium ascorbate
Vital 10 diary free Probiotics from Klaire Labs
homeopathic candida
selenium (need to get more of this)
energy electrolytes (minerals)
Dolomite (need to get more of this)
Calcium by Garden of Life
Thropps enzymes -- two diferent kinds, one is Ultra-Zyme Pro and the other is a combination with grape seed extract
Candida Yeast Management enzymes by Nutraceutical Sciences Institute
Homeopathic single remedies: sepia 200K and ignatia amara 200K

Five Love Languages

Five Love Languages

The Five Love Languages

My primary love language is probably
Quality Time
with a secondary love language being
Acts of Service.

Complete set of results

Quality Time: 9
Acts of Service: 8
Physical Touch: 7
Words of Affirmation: 5
Receiving Gifts: 1


Unhappiness in relationships, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, is often due to the fact that we speak different love languages. Sometimes we don't understand our partner's requirements, or even our own. We all have a "love tank" that needs to be filled in order for us to express love to others, but there are different means by which our tank can be filled, and there are different ways that we can express love to others.

Take the quiz

Some treats are all tricks -- chocolate and child slave labor

So, it turns out most of the chocolate candy we eat was produced using the work of children, who are unpaid and exploited, in Africa. I had already known that most chocolate is contaminated with lead (even organic) from processing it, and that it's usually loaded with pesticides, sugar, and soy (which gives me migraines). In fact, I had figured with all the nastiness in it, that it's hard to say whether the additives, the lead, the pesticides, or what give me migraines unless I tried pure raw cacao and saw whether it gave me migraine. Anyway, now it turns out that there is a new Nestle boycott (on top of the ongoing boycott of Nestle for its formula advertising, which is still in violation of the World Health Organization guidelines and ethics in general) because they, among others, are using forced child labor to harvest their chocolate.
So this Halloween, if you must give out chocolate, make sure it's fair trade chocolate!
Does anyone know if there is any raw, organic lead-free cacao that is also fair trade?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pirate Papa: A Journal of Anarcho-Green D(o).I(t).Y(ourself). Parenting

Pirate Papa: A Journal of Anarcho-Green D(o).I(t).Y(ourself). Parenting
What a cool site! All kinds of things, all kinds of information. I like the look of it, too! Check it out!
I love to hear about other parents who are doing things differently. Not following the herd. Thinking for themselves.

Is your life waiting?

I am just getting started on this book, Excuse me your life is waiting and I am slighly sceptical, yet intrigued. The gist of the book is that negative feelings and thoughts attract more negative feelings and thoughts, as well as negative people and negative events. She's saying that we get negative things, such as poverty, illness, and accidents, due to negative vibrations we send out when we feel negative feelings (such as despair, loneliness, jealousy, rage, etc). That we create our own reality, including all the things that happen to us. We are magnets, and if we are negatively charged, we attract negative things. That would mean all my negative thoughts, which are profuse (as you may see from my other posts), are making my life a living hell. Hmm, maybe? What about a depressed person such as myself, who can't help but feel negatively? Is that person doomed to a terrible life? How would one turn it around? I will read more and get back to you on that.

Friday, September 22, 2006

What's for Dinner? Eating the NT Way: Gingered Chicken Breasts

Found a blog with some yummy-sounding recipes in the style of Nourishing Traditions. Many are egg- and dairy-free that I've seen so far. Pretty cool!
What's for Dinner? Eating the NT Way: Gingered Chicken Breasts

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Mama's got milk

This is so cool. From a friend's blog:
To the tune of “Baby Got Back”! (written by ?)

I like milk breasts and I cannot lie
You other babies can’t deny
That when a mom walks in with an itty bitty waist and
Two round things in your face
Cuz you notice her bra is stuffed
she’s deep in double d’s she wearing
Im hooked and I can’t stop staring
OH MOMMA I wanna get witcha
And drink your juicy pitchers
Enfamil tried to lure me
But only momma’s milk makes me WAY healthy!

Ooo boobie’s smooth skin
It always makes me grin,
So feed me, feed me,
Cause you know it makes me happy
I see ‘em bouncin’
With at least six ounces
It’s sweet.
This treat!
Sit down mom, pull up a seat!
I’m tired of magazines,
Sayin formula is the thing
Ask the average baby and they’ll say, “Snap!
Give it to me straight from the tap!”

So, Mommas (yeah!)
Mommas (yeah!)
Can you NIP without any drama?
Then nurse ‘em, nurse ‘em, nurse ‘em, nurse ‘em,
Nurse your precious babes

Momma’s got milk!
(Mom’s sweet face over big full boobies)
Momma’s got milk!
(Mom’s sweet face over big full boobies)

I like ‘em round and big
I’m like a little baby pig
I just can’t help my self,
I’m eatin’ like an animal
Bottles can’t hold a candle
I wanna get that booju and slurp,
Slurp it up slurp slurp
I ain’t talking ’bout Playtex
Cause silicone nips are made for chumps
I like ‘em real big and juicy
So give me your big bubbles
Boobies don’t give me trouble
Rarely do I get a gas bubble
I’m lookin’ at TLC’s baby shows
Oh would you look at that…Oh, NO!
You can keep that mooju.
I’ll keep on stickin’ with booju.
A word to all you new mommas.
It’s no trauma
It’s not a big drama
I gotta be straight,
Your baby can nurse
Til the break of dawn
Now you’ve got it goin’ on
Similac won’t like this song
Cause they count on you to try it and quit it,
But you know those breasts make milk
It’s not wrong. You’re strong
Let’s get that lactating on

So babies (squee!)
Babies (squee!)
Do you wanna have your thirst sated?
Momma undo your bra, whip it out,
You make this baby shout

Momma’s got milk!
(Mom’s sweet face over big full boobies)
Momma’s got milk!
(Mom’s sweet face over big full boobies)

Yeah mommas.
When it comes to breastfeeding?
Size ain’t got nothin’ to do with your ability.
Bs? Cs? Double Ds?
You’ve got all your baby needs.

So they gave you a “success bag”
Complete with a Nestle tag
But don’t think that you always need
To get some free swag
Leave that sample up on the shelf
You can make it yourself
You can have some wine and sushi,
Your babe can have your milk!
Some docs wanna play that hard role
And tell you to supplement.
Momma toss it! Leave it!
The trashman can retrieve it!
So the security guard says, “Stop that!”
Well, I ain’t down with that.
Cause my boobs are full
And this baby needs feeding,
It’s his needs that I’ll be meetin’
Some knuckleheads tried to be snide,
But the law is on my side.
I’m not feeding her in the restroom.
So stop with your doom and gloom.

So momma if your babe needs food
Go ahead and do what’s good.
Sit down and feed that baby there
And let your milkies flow
Momma’s got milk!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Anxiety makes the world into a hurricane

I have anxiety. I don't know if you call it general anxiety disorder, or what, but it's anxiety that comes and goes, and generally makes my life miserable. I often feel as though nothing is right, that everything is wrong. I'm anxious about going out, I'm anxious about staying in. I'm anxious about spending money, I'm anxious about not buying anything. I'm anxious about making phone calls, but not talking on the phone leaves me isolated, particularly as I'm a stay-at-home mom who often literally stays at home all day. I'm anxious about the mess my home is in, but my brain is so scrambled I don't know where to begin to clean it. I hate it.
Why anxiety?
I know for me the anxiety is at least partially biological in cause, although the exact biology of it isn't clear to me. Candida, which I know I have, can cause anxiety, as can die-off when on an anti-candida diet (which I'm tiptoing on the edges of -- I cheat -- by eating fruit, honey, or carrots, just a little bit each day, probably enough to keep the candida alive but also just enough to keep from totally losing it). I know my anxiety is probably at least partially inherited from my mom, as she seemed like a pretty anxious person, always on the go and rarely relaxed unless she was reading a book. Whether I inhertited her candida and nutritional problems or her genetic problems is not clear though, as both can come to a person from their mother. And gut issues, and nutrition, are definitely tied up with mood and other mental problems.
What to do about it?
I used to be on Prozac, and it helped both my anxiety and my depression, but it made me feel like crap. I was tired all the time, needed coffee just to get going, often took naps in the middle of the day (yes, even at work), and slept 11 hours per night on weekends. I have been trying various homeopathic remedies, including gelsemium sempervirons, staphysagria, sepia, natrum muriaticum, and thuja, but none has resolved it. I just have a drawer full of little vials of these round pellets. The diet that I've been on for almost a year, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, has helped many who had gut issues, but it doesn't seem to have done much for me beyond helping me to lose some weight. I'm guessing that the candida are just too strong for it, and I will have to do something else.
And the torch is passed
My son definitely has separation anxiety, and is generally very high needs, so I'm pretty sure my problems have been passed on to him, whether through gut flora and nutrition problems he got in utero and/or during and after birth (candida from the birth canal and candida and missing nutrients in my breastmilk), or through just being around an anxious and depressed mom. I was thinking today how few memories I have of having real fun with him, and how few memories I have of having real fun with my mom, and it saddened me. How can I right this? I don't want him to grow up to be anxious and depressed like I am. I want him to be happy, healthy, and full of joy and love. What do I do to change things?
All I really want to do now is eat regular food again, like cereal and milk and pie and such. Give me a pill that will let me be healthy on a whole foods diet that isn't so limited, please! I can't even go camping because of a) the anxiety and b) the fact that the diet I'm on requires me not to use any canned or processed foods, which means I have to cook every meal -- not easy on a campstove with a few tiny camping pots. I can't enjoy life and I'm sick of it. Help me, please! I am tempted to chuck the whole thing, ask to be put on Prozac or St John's Wort or something, and eat at Denny's!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tired all the time? Could it be Adrenal Fatigue?

Do you think you may have adrenal fatigue? I think I may have it, although for me it would probably be more of a downstream consequence of PCOS and candida. In general, if you are tired all the time and have to drink a lot of coffee, caffeinated tea or other stimulants just to get by, you probably have adrenal fatigue. This is what this website says:

Adrenal Fatigue affects an estimated 80% of people living in industrialized countries at one time or another in their lives, yet it has been ignored and largely untreated by the medical community. As a physician in private practice, the number of patients I can work with is limited so, in order to reach the many individuals who suffer from this problem and help them regain their health and vitality, I wrote the book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.

Here are some more links to info about it:

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Walid's Wanderings

Walid's Wanderings
This page is from the point of view of someone who actually lived in Lebanon. He does not live there now, but from his posts obviously sees things from a Lebanese point of view. The whole Middle East mess is such a tragedy. That people are killing people over land, oil, differences in religious beliefs, is just horrible. That the media is showing mostly the point of view of the Israelis is not helping matters.
Seeing it from a Lebanese point of view certainly puts a different perspective, although the point of view is of one who believes violence can be justified based on violence. In this way, his point of view is exactly the same as that of the Israelis that so many have been horrified over. Is it a geographical prejudice?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Maternal Digressions

Maternal Digressions
I hope that some day, being a mother will be seen as a normal part of life, and that mothers will be acknowledged as human beings. This site talks about the way women are treated when pregnant, when breastfeeding, and generally in mothering their children. Not well, especially when you consider how important the next generation's health (mentally and physically) is to the world's well-being. Being a mom is a 24/7 profession, and should pay as such. Sure, we are rewarded by seeing our children grow and develop. However, it's difficult to focus entirely on mothering when you have to worry about money because being a mom doesn't pay anything. It should. Society should pay a woman well to stay home (if that is her choice), well enough that she doesn't have to have an anxiety attack every time she spends money for groceries.

In traditional societies, childrearing is a part of everyday life, shared by all, and is integrated into the activities that support the family. Children help gather and prepare food, as well as provide help in making tools and other necessary items. They learn as they go, they are a part of the family and the community as a whole. Sure, they play, but they are enveloped in a constant context that includes all ages and generations. In our society, they are often shunted off to daycare at a few weeks old, and spend the majority of their time once mobile either doing busy work or being ignored and left to fend for themselves with other similarly aged children as models. This is because we have decided that children are best kept separate from adults as much as possible, due to their not having anything valuable to contribute. This dooms them to feelings of inadequacy and feeling abandoned. Even if a woman does stay home to care for young children, she is often so isolated from others that she gets depressed, or ends up sticking the kids in front of a video so she can get some time with other adults. What's wrong with this picture? Plenty!
What's the solution? Homeschooling, or unschooling, at least de-institutionalizes children, but it leaves them cut off from the adult world in many cases, simply because they don't fit in to the hushed, sterile, maze-like world so many adults toil in day by day (the lucky white collar workers, anyway). Is there a way to fit children into the real world without enslaving them or totally disrupting the world of work? Should the factories, offices, stores, etc. be so serious and locked down that children wouldn't fit in? I realize that child labor is not exactly what we need to go back to, in the sense of children being forced to put in long hours in noisy, dirty, dangerous, conditions. But should anyone work like that? Shouldn't work itself be changed, so as to make it less slavery like? Or would that be some sort of radical revolutionary thing? I don't know.

Locked out of the American Dream

So today (actually yesterday now, it's the middle of the night) I was at a mommy's group get together at this woman's house not far from here. They just bought it for a little under $500K, and are putting a lot of money into it as it was a fixer. She is a full time stay at home mom (sahm) like myself, so all the money must have come from her DH's job at the big local employer (the one that makes software that runs most of the computers in the world). Wow, that place must pay really well! And he must be pretty high up there, too. How else could they afford that? Then one of the other mamas in the group mentioned that she and her dh are building not one but two houses! Sure, she's working as a lawyer part time from home, which I'm guessing pays pretty well, but whew! Talk about brushing shoulders with the rich!

I guess it comes with the territory of being a sahm, since most women work and most women who don't work outside the home have husbands that are well paid, but I couldn't help feeling sorry for myself, and comparing our situation to theirs. We just got our bank statement, and it shows that we exceeded our income this month, again, and are now living paycheck to paycheck practically -- and this is without putting anything towards retirement! And we are living in an apartment. I know part of it is that our rent is going up a lot, and part of it is that ds and I took a trip back east to visit the ILs, but mostly it's the diet -- SCD is breaking us! All the vegetables and meats are just too much money! I would bet we spent over a thousand bucks on food. At this rate, with these kinds of housing prices, we will not be able to afford even the smallest, most worn-out house in this area without buying so far out we'd never be able to get to the nice places to shop like the farmer's Market, the natural food coop, much less fun places like the museums downtown. What's a poor girl to do?

I know I should be happy we have a regular roof over our heads, a car we can use (yes, we have only one car, dh walks to work), and food to eat. There are billions of people worse off than we are. We have internet access, a TV (no cable though) and enough clothes in relatively good condition not to have to wash them daily. Why can't I be grateful for what I have instead of seeing what I don't have? So, we have no garage. So, we have only a 2 bedroom apartment. We're not living in tent city, after all. We may never be able to own a home, but at least we can pay the rent. We have heat in the winter, hot running water, and wow, a washer and dryer (didn't have that growing up -- the washer and dryer that is).

Why is it that the homes here are so out of reach for so many? I mean, it's not as if dh works at a fast food place. He has a college degree, has been out in the working world for many years, but he obviously isn't being paid half what these other women's Dh's are being paid. Why not? Sure, his dad was a plumber who died young and left a widow with a high school education to support three boys. Sure, he's a laid-back hippie who would never want to negotiate for more pay or switch jobs a lot to increase his salary. But why should that mean that we are relegated to apartment living? What about all the teachers, grocery store clerks, bank tellers, and non-profit workers? At this point, even if we could find a house to rent for a reasonable amount, we couldn't afford to pay movers and are too old and physically unfit to move ourselves. I feel so trapped! Is this the depression talking?

I had meant to go on about how the median income in the area is almost double what dh is making, and how that meant that either he was underpaid or I was not supposed to be home with a kid, but I forgot about that. Yes, that's right, the median household income here, in our School District, is over $100K! That includes people who work at the grocery store, etc, which means that a lot of people are being paid really well, or else most women are working outside the home, or both. Where do we sign up to be paid like that? King County (our county) median household income is more like $60K, which is more in line with ours, but that must include inner city areas where there is no income along with rural areas where people can more easily subsist on less. I still can't help thinking, what about the Starbucks employees, the massage therapists? Where do they live? Do they have long commutes? Live with their parents?

Anyway, enough obsessing about money. I need to try to sleep!

Friday, June 09, 2006

So, what's for dinner? What can I eat?

I have been reading a lot lately about diet, especially as it affects mood and mental health. One thing that seems apparent is that I should probably cut out dairy and eggs? I have been wondering about dairy, and to a lesser extent, eggs for years, really. I know that if it's something
you're really resistant to giving up, you're probably allergic to it, right?

Milk and milk products -- not for humans?

I have always felt I couldn't live without yogurt and cheese, and in the past, milk and ice cream (I've given up the latter two for the diet, and been ok). But on the other hand, yogurt, for one, is a great natural source of enzymes and probiotics, and at least the proteins are pre-digested. There are other ways to get probiotics -- coconut milk yogurt, for one -- but they are not as appetizing and not as satisfying, either. Not to mention the nutritional value of it. I mean, coconut milk tastes ok, but it has no protein and no calcium, either. However, I'm a blood type O, and that's supposed to mean dairy is bad for me. And I know I get thicker mucus when I consume it, even goat's milk dairy and even as yogurt. And after all, we're the only species that drinks the milk of another species (but we're the only one that wears clothes, too, and the only one that raises our own food -- other than ants). I actually am not even consuming much dairy these days, since milk and cream are not allowed on the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) and I don't really care for the tart 24-hour fermented goat's milk yogurt I've been making (cow's milk yogurt gives me migraines, as does cow's milk aged cheese). Is that enough?

Eggs: the perfect food? Or the perfect allergen?

I can't imagine how I'd get by without eggs. They're full of protein, including all the essential amino acids. It's so easy to cook them, they keep so well, they have good fats in them, and they can be used to hold together stuff, like nut-based baked goods (since I can't do grains), and
custard-type foods (ah, dairy and eggs together!). Sigh. But they are one of the most common allergens and one of the first foods to try to eliminate to test for allergies. On the other hand, I don't get a strong physical craving for them the way I used to with ice cream or still do with nuts if I go a few days without them.

Nutso for nuts

Ah, nuts -- another food I can't seem to live without. I was just reading that nuts roasted at high temperatures should be avoided, because the high heat oxidizes the fats in them, and I've read elsewhere that most have a bad lysine to arginine ratio (whatever that means) and are high in omega 6 fatty acids, which should be limited for most people. And I definitely have addictive
type cravings to nuts, especially peanuts and almonds which I can't get enough of. So, we cut out nuts, eggs, and dairy, along with grains, and what's left?? Meat, veggies, and fruit?? That's no way to eat! Ack! I'd starve!

Leftovers - never again?

I forgot to mention, leftovers are also apparently very bad for you. I first
heard this from my homeopath over two years ago, who said I shouldn't be feeding
leftovers of any kind to my baby, because they had no nutritional value and were basically rotten. I guess that would include canned baby food, right, since it's not fresh? Funny, I thought not liking leftovers was just one of those picky kid things, like not liking liver or veggies. Well, it turns out they are full of molds, too, which feed candida albicans -- which ds and I definitely have in abundance. So, I'm supposed to throw away any food I don't consume immediately and eat only fresh fruits, veggies, and meats. Or, according to some anti-candida diets, avoid
fruits as well. So that leaves just fresh veggies and meats. (I don't even want to think of the anti-meat arguments).

Unrealistic dietary expectations

I would have to spend all of my waking hours at home in the kitchen, either cooking or preparing to cook, tons and tons of veggies and meats to get enough calories. That is, when I wasn't at the store, right? After all, if leftovers are bad, doesn't that mean day old lettuce is a no-no too? My
grocery bill would no doubt be over $1500 per month on such a diet, and I would have no time to do anything else. How on earth could anyone live like that? If I were rich, I'd hire a personal chef (or two or three!), and spend a ton on fresh foods, but what about the reality, poor me? Am I doomed to malnutrition and candida overgrowth? That's how I feel at this point. The only other way I could do it would be to move to a farm in a milk climate with a long growing season say, central California, and grow my own (but the air quality there is terrible, and land prices would prevent anyone but the wealthiest to buy land there). You can't win for losing, can you?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ellien's Essays: The Pumping Pioneer

Ellien's Essays: The Pumping Pioneer
I read this essay and thought, wow, here's a mom who's dedicated to giving her baby breastmilk even though she's leaving the baby with another person. This makes those stay at home moms who don't breastfeed seem, well, not so dedicated, to say the least. I mean, if it's too much trouble for them to feed their babies their own breastmilk when working doesn't take them away from their babies, imagine how they'd handle working and breastfeeding. Mothering as a working mom is now considered the norm, but breastfeeding and working -- that's radical! How does anyone do it? Especially if they can't work from home?
I tried working part time from home myself when ds was a baby, but it didn't work for me -- I was suffering from ppd, had nobody to watch ds while I worked, and also had a high needs infant who would not let me put him down. I ended up quitting my job after only a couple of weeks of trying.
I sometimes envy the moms who work outside the home full time, but I also know I couldn't do it, for mulitple reasons: I'm not that organized (when does cooking, shopping, cleaning etc. get done?), energetic (when do you sleep?), or in a position to have someone I trust besides me watch my baby or child. Maybe that will change some day, but for now, I'm staying home. We will remain at the bottom of the middle class, probably never own our own home, but at least I won't be trying to juggle a job and parenting. I admire those who can manage it!
There are so many different ways to be a mom, and so many different ways to provide for your baby's needs. It's truly inspiring to hear about someone making it work to go against the grain, both in breastfeeding (which is so unpopular in our culture) and in doing it while working outside the home. Right on!

Alternative medicine: you're on your own!

I have been looking into alternative approaches for ds's SID and anxiety, as well as my own health concerns (PCOS, migraines, depression) and those of my husband (iritis). Autoimmune conditions like ours (and like those that killed my mom -- dermatomyositis -- and drove my dad to drink himself to death -- fibromyalgia) are so poorly treated by mainstream, western medicine, you really have to seek other opinions. There are so many alternative approaches, it's mindboggling, and since they are often either in conflict with one another (like homeopathy vs. herbs), it's difficult to determine which one to choose. There are no governing bodies to oversee all this, except those who are completely against all alternatives (such as the AMA and the FDA). There needs to be a body made up of regular people, who have the time to read all this stuff and determine what is really true and what isn't. But who has that kind of time who's not on someone's payroll (such as the pharmaceutical industry or agribusiness) who might skew the results?
Nutitional approaches
There are many different dietary or nutritional approaches, including raw vegan, raw meat, seasonal eating, slow foods, traditional (as in Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions), the Maker' Diet, orthomolecular, juicing, blood type diet, alkaline diet, many anti-yeast diets, etc. Each seems to say that it's the way to go, and that the others have it all wrong. Some require expensive testing for things like malabsorbtion and alkalinity vs acidity, others simply tell you to follow their plan and you will feel great. Some combine supplements with dietary outlines.
All require a major commitment to follow. All of them are radical departures from the standard American diet (SAD), either because they limit processed foods, or because they limit the types of foods that can be eaten. I think most nutritionists and dietitions would say they are all too extreme, in that they are too different from the USDA Food Pyramid. So you can't really go to a nutritionist if you want to decide which nutritional approach to take among all the radical nutritional prescriptions out there.
How does one decide? I know I can't afford expensive tests, and our insurance doesn't cover them, so I probably won't be doing orthomolecular, even though it seems like a much more customized approach. Had I a million bucks to play with, maybe I'd try it or something like it. Until then, I am just going to wing it, trying out foods and deciding for myself which works best. I do wonder about supplementation though. I know I need more minerals, since I have terrible tooth decay, but mineral supplementation is very tricky, since they all balance each other out and an excess of one can cause a deficit of another. Here's where I wish I could afford testing, to determine which minerals I'm lacking.

Herbs vs. homeopathy

Here's where I get a bit confused: homeopathy uses some plant extracts in some of its remedies, but it's not herbalism and you can't use regular herbs at the same time, despite the fact that no homeopathic remedy I've taken yet has relieved all my symptoms (migraines in particular). And I use many herbs in cooking that have medicinal qualities, like garlic, ginger, and turmeric. And I drink ginger tea. I may be contradicting my homeopathy doing this, I don't know. Also, I've recently learned that some homeopaths have you dilute your remedies in water twice -- should I see someone who does this? Regardless, I feel pretty lost in all this, and am coming to realize that the only one who can guide me is myself -- which is pretty scary!

Supplements: expensive, not well documented

There are so many kinds of nutritional supplements, each with their legion of supporters, it's difficult to know which to take. Pascalite clay? Liquid minerals (because supposedly mineral tablets don't get dissolved or absorbed very well)? Single minerals? Vitamins are controversial too - many say that the synthetic vitamins contained in most vitamin pills are not as good as those found in foods, and that they may even do harm. Enzymes? There are so many, and some are very expensive, but supposedly they really help if you have digestive problems. I could go on, but I'm running out of time. I will continue this later, I hope.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Infertility blues

Pity Party for me about infertility and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
Today I just feel so resentful of my infertility, and PCOS. If it wasn't for it, I would probably have more than one child by now, and wouldn't feel so weird about my body. I wouldn't feel like there's diabetes around the corner for me (since it's associated with PCOS, and my brother has it). I feel like my body betrayed me, and that it is so damaged. I know it could be worse, I know I am fortunate in many ways, but I still am angry about being infertile. Yes, I do have one son, who is an amazing person. We were able to conceive with help from modern medicine, eventually, but it was late in my life and there's really no time left to do it again, what with my being 40 and ds still nursing. Not to mention that we don't have anyone to watch him during medical appointments, of which there would be many during infertility treatment. I am so mad and sad that I can't conceive without medical intervention, and that for so many years we did nothing, or the wrong things, about it. At least, looking back, they were the wrong things. I should have hurried more, for one thing, so maybe I could have had a second by now. Boo hoo!
Why me? Why anyone?
I am so envious of Brooke Shields, who was able to conceive a second child without any medical assistance, despite having had to resort to IVF for her first daughter. But then, she had much worse PPD than I did, and from what I understand her daughter had to be weaned well before her first birthday, which is sad. Why do I have to live with PCOS and infertility? But why does anyone have to live with anything that is difficult? That's life, isn't it? There are plenty to envy, and plenty to feel compassion for out there, so why am I feeling sorry for myself? Is it something I learned, is it the depression? Is it just laziness? Sure, no matter what, it's possible to find something wrong with your situation, something to feel bad about. Why do I fixate on what I can't have rather than what I do have? And why not spend some of my energy contributing to the world, rather than just feeling sorry for myself? Does anyone have any answers? Or solace for me? It's probably our modern American diet, including our food supply that is contaminated and deficient in nutrients. But not everybody has been rendered infertile (yet). Just 10% or so of the population. One rare group I don't enjoy being a part of.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Natural Highs

Thought I'd just post these, which I got in an email from a friend.

1 . Falling in love.
2. Laughing so hard your face hurts.
3. A hot shower.
4. No lines at the supermarket
5. A special glance.
6. Getting mail.
7. Taking a drive on a pretty road.
8. Hearing your favorite song on the radio
9. Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.
10. Hot towels fresh out of the dryer.
11. Chocolate milkshake (or vanilla or strawberry smoothie).
12. A bubble bath.
13. Giggling.
14. A good conversation.
15. The beach
16. Finding a 20 dollar bill in your coat from last winter.
17. Laughing at yourself.
18. Looking into their eyes and knowing they Love you
19. Midnight phone calls that last for hours.
20. Running through sprinklers.
21. Laughing for absolutely no reason at all.
22. Having someone tell you that you're beautiful.
23. Laughing at an inside joke
24. Friends.
25. Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you.
26. Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to
27. Your first kiss (either the very first or with a new partner).
28. Making new friends or spending time with old ones.
29 Playing with a young puppy.
30. Having someone play with your hair.
31. Sweet dreams.
32. Hot chocolate with real whipped cream.
33. Road trips with friends.
34. Swinging on swings.
35. Making eye contact with a cute stranger.
36. Making holiday cookies.
37. Having your friends send you homemade cookies.
38 Holding hands with someone you care about.
39. Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or bad) never change.
40. Watching the ______expression on someone's face as they open a much desired present from you.
41. Watching the sunrise.
42. Getting out of bed every morning and being grateful for another beautiful day.
43 Knowing that somebody misses you.
44. Getting a hug from someone you care about deeply.
45. Knowing you've done the right thing, no matter what other people may think.

Pass on These Natural Highs

Friday, January 06, 2006

"heath facts and fears" -- This site is so hyped!

I was just reading this website after seeing an editorial in the paper the other day by these guys, and it really amazes me. They seem to think that just blanket statements about how science, and scientists, don't believe that vaccines are harmful, for example, are enough to prove that anyone who is anti-vaccine is an idiot who wants to return to the dark ages. Ditto for
low carb diets, raw milk, toxins, etc. How on earth do they sleep at night? I hate to even create a link to this website, as it makes their count go up, but couldn't leave it alone. Where are the links to studies supporting their positions? Medical journals? How about anything showing that the research against vaccines is shoddy? How about some real arguments, with facts to back them up? How can the autor(s) assert so much with so little background information?

Does anyone else get the feeling this site is funded by the pharmaceutical industry?