Sometimes I just have to cry

Today is a hard day for me. Some years the anniversary of my mother’s death goes past without me noticing. If we are on vacation or travelling or sometimes I just don’t know what the date is during the summer. This year I have been dreading July 31 for weeks. It came and went and I was fine. But. Today is August 1st. On this day six years ago I woke up without my mom. I remember going downstairs and noticing her bedroom door was open. Before reality crashed in I thought “Oh good, she’s up.” She was gone. Gone. I could never see her again. I could never call her again. There is no way to describe the feeling of knowing she was gone from the world.
I don’t know why I’m having such a difficult time today. I just can’t stop crying. I want my Mama. I miss her and it still hurts.
Grief must be one of those spiral things. You feel like you are just going around and around, but really at the same time you are moving up. The weeks following her death I couldn’t sleep. I would watch the numbers change on my clock for hours. I would cry, full body sobs every night. I still miss her, but I do sleep through the night. I do miss her, but I don’t cry every day. I miss her, but I can find joy in watching my girls swim in the pool. I can find comfort in my family. I can hear a James Taylor song without completely loosing it.
A couple of weeks ago I had a girls weekend in Portland. When my mom was alive she and her sisters got together every year (usually with my grandma). I was fortunate to be able to join them a few times. This is the first time we have been together since Mama died. I hope that we will continue to get together, but I don’t know if that will happen. We didn’t talk about Mama, but I’m sure we all thought about her. She would have had a fabulous time with us.
I think I’m feeling better. I can breathe, my eyes aren’t burning. As long as no one asks “are you OK?” I should be fine.

Sugar! 

I have mentioned my sugar addiction before. I’m focusing on sugar again. My husband and I watched a documentary out of Australia called “That Sugar Film”. It was like Super Size Me, except with sugar. Damon Gameau didn’t have to eat candy and drink soda, he ate yogurt and granola bars and other food we think of as healthy, to eat 40 tablespoons of sugar a day. It is easy to overload your body with sugar.
Six tablespoons is the recommended daily allowance of sugar for women. That’s 25 grams. One container of vanilla coconut yogurt has 19 grams of sugar. Yesterday I had 79 grams of sugar without any soda, juice, candy or processed foods. So today I’m only having 25 grams of sugar. Guess what? It is amazingly difficult to eat that little sugar. Here is what I ate.

Green Goddess Breakfast Salad from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

Almonds and coconut chips for a snack (because the breakfast salad was huge)

Chicken stir fry with rice

No sweets, no soda, not even an apple and that was 25 grams of sugar! I even left the honey out of the salad dressing and my teriyaki sauce. The most sugar came from sweet potato.

I agree that the Western diet is full of sugar and it is ruining our health, but I’m not sure that I can maintain this low sugar diet. I had to be careful to measure the amount of carrots in my stir fry so that I didn’t go over my sugar quota. Carrots! It seems a bit much when carrots need to be restricted. Who came up with the daily allowance number? The American Heart Association. I went to their website and all their infographics on healthy eating include fruit. Not possible with only 25 grams of sugar. Did they mean six tablespoons of added sugar? That would be too much of the white stuff, but 25 grams total is a tiny amount. Yesterday I had a fruit salad with half an orange, small handful of grapes and half a banana, it was 22 grams of sugar (according to MyFitnessPal). Giving up soda is not going to lower your sugar intake anywhere near the recommended amount. That takes drastic measures.

I will continue to watch my sugar amounts, but I’m not giving up all fruit. That doesn’t seem right. Like most things in this life moderation is the key. 

New Year’s Resolutions

For many people a New Year’s resolution may look something like this.

“This year I will get in shape.”

Or

“My New Year’s resolution is to lose weight.”

Or, more specific

“I will lose 20 pounds in 2017.”

My New Year’s resolution is to “keep on keeping on.” I’m not starting anything new. I’m not setting a nebulous goal for myself. I’m not even vowing to break a bad habit. I am going to make a list of all the things that I have decided are part of a healthy day for me. Some of these things I have been doing for years, others for a few months, but I want to be aware of them and work to do them EVERY day.

  1. read the Bible
  2. take vitamins and supplements twice a day for hormonal health
  3. drink gelatin
  4. do T-Tapp
  5. drink a Green Thickie
  6. drink 5-6 glasses of water
  7. wash face using oil cleansing method
  8. use Wellness Mama toothpaste and oil pull
  9. go to bed with a clean kitchen sink

The last one is probably the hardest for me and the one my husband is most interested in. His love language is acts of service and clean dishes make him feel loved. Washing dishes is right up there with doing laundry. I’ll do it, if I have to, I guess. Doing the laundry should be up there too, but I don’t want to do it every day.

This list might change over the course of this year, but this is a good start.

Alright, here is my one, big, nebulous, hashtag-able New Year’s resolution: be a friend.

I don’t really have any friends and the one thing my husband is always saying to me is if I want a friend I need to be a friend. So there is my big idea for 2017. Now I have to figure out how to be a friend.

Gluten Free Dairy Free Tuna Noodles

GF and DF Tuna Noodle Casserole

  • 1 half medium onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 quarter bell pepper, diced (I use red)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning or salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2-2  cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheddar cheese shreds
  • 1 tablespoon potato flour
  • 1 or 2 7 oz cans tuna, drained
  • 3 cups (dry) gluten-free elbows
  • crushed potato chips or vegan Parmesan to top (optional)

Cook noodles according to package directions. Saute onion, celery and pepper in olive oil or vegan butter in a medium sauce pan. Add seasoning and milk. Heat through. When little bubbles form around edge of pan, stir in potato flour. When most of the lumps have disappeared (don’t worry, it will be fine, just keep stirring) add in the cheese shreds. On low heat, stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat. Stir in tuna. This is the time to add more milk, if it looks too dry/thick. Mix tuna sauce into cooked and drained noodles. (OR now you can add more milk, if it looks too dry.) Pour noodles and sauce into 2 qt casserole dish. Top with crushed potato chips or vegan parm. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes, uncovered.

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There it is. Up at the top so you don’t have to scroll through all my story-telling to get to the recipe. I hate when you have to search to find the recipe. (I know I am guilty of doing this.) I don’t care about your husband or your cat. I  really don’t want to hear about your fabulous trip to NYC. And I don’t want to see your gorgeous photos because I am jealous! (I have no talent in photography) I just want the recipe! So, now I can story-tell to my little heart’s content and it won’t be in anyone’s way.

I have a recipe for DF tuna and noodles, but now we are trying to be gluten free for my sweet daughter. This girl is a trooper. She has had so many health problems and I am just amazed at how she handles them. The only times I have been in the ER have been with her. I think that because her birth was so difficult, I am more nervous for her. I feel like she needs more protection. I also feel like I have let her down. I should have been more in tune to her body. I know I can’t make sure she doesn’t get sick, but oh, I want to do just that! Anyway, in my attempt to be a more overbearing mother I have decided to eliminate gluten from her diet. Now we are going to be dairy AND gluten free. I am praying that it makes a difference in her health. I am going to be super vigilant for 6 months to see if it makes any difference. Then I might relent and let her have Chick-fil-A nuggets because I hate to deny her of her favorite things. This is where my darling husband would say “Are you the mom?” Yes, I am the mom, but I also know how hard it is to not eat your favorite food. I so wanted my children to be able to eat whatever they wanted, but being healthy is more important. And that is the moral of today’s story.

What is in a Number?

I’m starting to think that my ‘ideal weight’ is an unrealistic number. Why did I pick this number? Have I ever been my ideal weight? Was it in high school? It is starting to piss me off. I log my calories and exercise online (MyFitnessPal). It’s a good tool. Too bad losing weight isn’t as easy as calories in versus calories burned. Many may argue that that is exactly what goes into losing weight, but I seem to be stuck. At the end of every day my app tells me that in five weeks I should weigh three pounds more than my ideal weight, this magic number that I am striving toward. However, I am still seven pounds away from this number. Three pounds, seven pounds, these are small numbers. I know there are millions of people struggling to lose large amounts of weight and my complaining is just petty. Here is the thing that I am wondering. Where do we come up with our ideal weight numbers. I looked online for my BMI. The healthy range for me is between 94.7 and 128 lbs. That is quite a range. 95 pounds? Really? 95 would be a healthy weight for me? Maybe if I was a vegan marathon runner. Or an Olympic gymnast. So, I chose a random number in the middle of my range, but I can’t get there. Should I keep struggling to get to my ideal weight or should I say “Never mind, THIS, the weight that I am right now, IS my ideal weight”. That sounds like a great idea.

 

THIS, the weight I am right now, IS my ideal weight!

Good-bye random number that may never appear on my scale! I am not going to feel guilty about not reaching an imaginary goal. I am going to celebrate the size that I am!

Re-boot camp

It is hard to eat healthy and exercise ALL the time. Sometimes I want chocolate cake more than I want to fit in my new little black dress. However, I don’t want to go through the hassle of returning my new LBD, so T-Tapp re-boot camp it is!

I read Extra Petite blog occasionally for fashion ideas.  I am fashionally challenged. I’m a mom, I live in Idaho, I don’t work outside of my home. I would like to be fashionable, but I don’t have much inspiration. Anyway, I finally decided to buy a good LBD and bought one from Ann Taylor. I usually buy my clothes from Old Navy or Land’s End, on sale, on clearance, I want a whole ton of clothes for $100, so buying a dress that was on sale for $100 was a big deal for me. (Yes, I am thrifty cheap) I knew I had been slacking off on my diet and exercise regime, but I didn’t want to buy a bigger dress, I bought the size I should be. I was able to zip it up and everything, but walking was a little difficult and the back was all lumpy above my (slightly inflated) bootie.  My husband thought I looked hot. I really shouldn’t ask him for fashion advice. I don’t need to loose 20 pounds or anything I just need a little adjustment. I think it was good that the dress didn’t fit. I can lie to myself about gaining a few pounds, I can find clothes that still fit me in my closet, but new clothes don’t lie. And plus expensive clothes are usually bigger than cheap clothes. Whatever, if I can’t fit myself into this dress in two weeks I’ll return it.

Spring break is in three weeks, my family and I are going to relax at a couple of our favorite hot springs. Idaho is full of hot springs. I think I’ll write something just about hot springs next time. Anyway, in three weeks I will be in a swim suit, in public, so I think that is a good incentive for my re-boot camp.

T-Tapp is my go-to exercise program. It isn’t glamorous, or sporty, or popular, but it works for me. My sister gets bored doing the same exercises over and over, but I like that I can memorize the moves. I also like that the workout is in a flowing sequence that I can do in 15-20 minutes. For my re-boot camp I am going back to the instructional videos. Slowing down and focusing on form will help my mind and body reset. I could just go back to my 20 minute daily work out, drink green smoothies and keep track of my calories on myfitnesspal.com, but I think I need a new beginning. I’m ready for Spring. Well, I’m ready to get ready for Spring!

Today’s Plan:

T-Tapp instructional video #2
Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
Vegetable Minestrone Soup
8 glasses of water
Early to bed

 

Strawberry Lemonade Green Smoothie


1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup water
2 tablespoons raisins
4 tablespoons hemp protein powder
2 cups baby spinach
2 cups frozen strawberries
juice of 1 lemon
2 small bananas

Blend ingredients through spinach, when the spinach is blended add rest of ingredients and blend until smooth. I divided this into three servings at about 200 calories per serving (according to myfitnesspal.com).

Where is Peace?

This is a totally different post for me. I don’t expect many people will read it. It isn’t a smoothie recipe or any recipe, it won’t have a vegan tag. This is more like a confession.
In this country there is a stigma surrounding mental illness. Even now I don’t want to say that I have a mental illness, I just have some issues, like everyone else. My particular issue is anxiety. Many Americans are anxious. Some people have crippling anxiety. Others have panic attacks. I rarely have issues like most people. I am allergic to dairy. Impossible, say my doctors. They aren’t really convinced by the welts left by a scratch test. My mental illness is of course also a head-scratcher for my physicians. I have anxiety attacks, but only in my sleep.
One night, in college I was staying at home with my parents. I woke up in the middle of the night with acute nausea. I staggered to the bathroom, threw up and waited for the waves of sickness to ease, as they usually do after you vomit. But the waves did not recede. I spent hours on the bathroom floor, alternating retching and resting on the bath mat. Early in the morning I crawled back to my bed and fell asleep, totally exhausted. The next day when I woke up, I felt tired and sore, but mostly normal. After several months I had another episode of unexplained “night nausea”. My sister urged me to talk to my gynecologist, the same doctor who had recognized her depression. He said it sounded like anxiety attacks and prescribed Xanax. Those pills were like magic. If I woke up with that nauseous feeling I just had to take a pill and get back to bed. I felt like I had been in a fight the next morning, but I didn’t have to spend the night on the bathroom floor. I only have four to six of these attacks a year. I’m not much good the next day, but after that I’m fine. While the attacks aren’t getting more frequent they have increased in intensity. During my last attack I couldn’t open the small safe where we keep our prescription drugs. My husband thought I was having a migraine. I was having trouble breathing, walking, using my hands, using my words. And it didn’t go away with one Xanax. I laid in bed with my muscles clenched, my hands shaking and my stomach rolling for hours before I got up, took another pill and finally fell asleep or passed out. The magic pills didn’t seem so magic any more.

I have had so many people give me friendly advice. Bless their hearts, they are trying. I have been told to exercise more. I try to exercise five days a week, but it doesn’t seem to have any effect on these anxiety attacks. Pray more. Always good advice, but when I wake up in the midst of an attack I can’t even form thoughts. I have repeated “help and peace” over and over, but can’t make sense of these words in my mind. Recite scripture. Also a wonderful idea. If only I could get my brain to work, I could remember those words that are tucked into my heart. Meditation. OK. I really should try that, it wouldn’t hurt to meditate daily. Eat better, drink more water, don’t drink alcohol, pretty much if you are physically healthy you should be mentally healthy as well.

So here is where I will lose the last two readers that made it past the mentions of prayer and the Bible. I don’t even know really how to write this. I am an American. Yes, I go to church and I read the Bible every day, but I’m not a fanatic. I am spiritual. I probably believe things even most Christians don’t believe. I believe in ghosts. Or at least the supernatural. Strange things happened in the house where I grew up. I firmly believe in the spiritual world. People may say that they believe in angels, but if you say that you have seen an angel or an angel talked to you, you are crazy. I think I would have a hard time believing someone who said they saw an angel. Some things are just not acceptable in this scientific age.

I have read several Frank Peretti books. Entertaining and scary stuff. Demons, dragons, Sasquatch (what is the plural of Sasquatch?) anyway, stuff of bad dreams. They are compelling books. In my mind I believe in demons, like I believe in angels. I know they exist, but they don’t have any part of my life. Demons are put in the dragon, Sasquatch category. I say that I believe demons are real, but really, I don’t. And here is where my anxiety attacks and my demon rabbit trail intersect. I read another book, The Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson. It was recommended to me by a friend I met while she was completing a drug and alcohol treatment program. She knows about bondage, she knows about overcoming your past and living a full life. I thought it was a great book, I was totally following what Anderson was saying until he suggested that some mental and even physical illnesses are caused by demons. What? Wait. Let’s get off the crazy train. Why would Satan be wasting his time making my anxious? Really? He’s sending his angels of darkness to my house to give me anxiety attacks? Hmm. Wait another second. If I do believe in demons, if I believe that Satan is real, why wouldn’t I think that he is trying to shake my faith? Isn’t that what he does? I’m not Job. I’m not special, except that I am special. God knows me. He thinks I’m a pretty big deal. He died a horrible death so I could go to paradise and live with Him. I know it sounds crazy, but waking up in the middle of the night, puking, shaking, having breathing problems isn’t exactly sane. Anderson suggests that if we are new creations in Christ that all we need to do is remember that we are in Christ and Satan has no power over us. The only power that Satan has, was allowed him by God. If I am in Christ I have power over Satan. If Christ Jesus can cast out demons, so can I. The power isn’t in the words “I am in Christ Jesus, you have no power over me”, but the power is in the truth of those words.

I have woken twice in the night with the dread of an anxiety attack after reading this book. I have repeated to myself “I am in Christ Jesus, you have no power over me” and the anxiety fled and peace covered me and I was able to go back to sleep. It still sounds crazy, like alien abduction crazy, but it happened. I’m not throwing out my Xanax. Medication is helpful. I’m not going to stop seeing a doctor or start thinking that everything can be cured by repeating magical phrases. But I’m not worried that I will have an anxiety attack. I’m not panicking, wondering if my next attack will be more than Xanax can handle. I have a weapon to fight anxiety. If it is caused by demons or a chemical imbalance, I am still in Christ and He has dominion over all His creation.

If you aren’t a Christian, this doesn’t really apply to you. (And you probably stopped reading a while ago, but if you haven’t…)The good news is it isn’t difficult to become a Christian. All you have to do is believe that you are a sinner, you can’t save yourself, and believe that Jesus died to wipe out your sin. He defeated death, He rose from the dead. And (crazy) He loves you.

The problem is that it is so simple we have a hard time believing that it is true. It doesn’t make sense. Luckily, I don’t have to understand it, just believe it. I’m not really sure why I was compelled to write this post, but it was something I had to do and I pray that God uses this to His purpose.