I have had a dairy allergy 3/4 of my life. Between the ages of 10 and 20 the allergy seemed to disappear. In college my symptoms reappeared. It can make life a bit challenging and travel can be less than enjoyable.
So, this summer I am going to take a little East Coast tour with my oldest daughter. I know we will have a wonderful time, but I was bummed about not being able to eat pizza in New York or a cheesesteak in Philadelphia. Did I have any options?
I visited my local allergist to see if there was any hope. (Don’t read on if you have an allergy and are still searching for help.) The first thing they did was test me for a dairy allergy. And…it came back negative. It has been close to 15 years since my last allergy test and four years since I had a major reaction. So, sometime in the last four years my allergy disappeared?
The first thing my husband said was “Don’t overdo it.” I may have mentioned the gallons of ice cream, cheesecakes and pizzas I consumed between the ages of 10 and 20. And while I do feel a sense of freedom, I don’t want to gain 20 pounds in the next few months. Also, I trust my body more than a test. Doctors say there is not correlation between dairy and congestion, but singers and actors will disagree. Directors will ask their performers to refrain from dairy before shows. If it affects people with no history of allergies, shouldn’t I be a little more cautious?
So, here is my plan: I’m not really going to change my diet. Now, to be honest I have already tried butter and ice cream and I bought a carton of eggnog and found I no longer like it. Dairy tastes salty to me, which reminds me that it is a bodily fluid from a cow and that removes some of it appeal. Mostly I’m glad to be able to go into a restaurant and order any meal that I would like. I hate to be a hassle and I love the fact that I no longer have to have a private conversation with the server before I order. AND oh, I just thought about Disneyland! I can get all those treats at Disneyland! I can have a meal at any restaurant I choose. I can go on a cruise! Oh dear, it is going to be harder than I thought to keep myself under control.
Just because I can eat these foods does not mean that I should. “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable…”( NASB 1 Corinthians 6:12)
It is my goal for my diet to be 95% plant based. The last time I changed to a plant based diet I was focused on eliminating animal protein. This time I want to focus on what I am eating. I like to read/watch Chris Wark occasionally. And something he said stuck in my brain. Totally paraphrasing “If you are eating 10-15 servings of fruit and veggies everyday, you don’t have room for junk.” So, instead of trying to find vegan substitutes for meat, I am going to enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables. At every meal I want to have 3 to 5 servings of fruit and veggies. Green smoothies for breakfast. Salads for lunch. What have I been eating for dinner? Seriously, I should think about that. Okay, Monday I made burgers, used a Minimalist Baker recipe (here), Tuesday I made chili, and Wednesday we had leftovers. Last week I made my husband halibut cakes and I had zucchini patties. I also did a mixed grill over the weekend. Chicken, shrimp and sausages for the meat eaters and zucchini, bell peppers, onions and beets for me. I ate those veggies on top of couscous. Writing about all this food is making me hungry! My green smoothies is wearing thin. I better think about a salad for lunch.
2 cups leaf lettuce
1 cup baby greens
1/4 cup shredded red cabbage
1/4 cup leftover brown rice
1 leftover grilled beet (pickled works too!)
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons almonds roughly chopped (pick a flavor for more fun! I like smoked almonds)
I really hope I can keep this up. So, 95% means I’m going to focus on plant based foods, but occasionally I will eat fish, eggs, maybe some chicken. I will have turkey on Thanksgiving. Can I do this until Thanksgiving? Yes! Good attitude! Eating salad can get old after awhile, but so can being unhealthy and feeling miserable.
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.
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.
For many people a New Year’s resolution may look something like this.
“This year I will get in shape.”
“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.
- read the Bible
- take vitamins and supplements twice a day for hormonal health
- drink gelatin
- do T-Tapp
- drink a Green Thickie
- drink 5-6 glasses of water
- wash face using oil cleansing method
- use Wellness Mama toothpaste and oil pull
- 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.
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.
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.
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!