Should We Homeschool?

 

spiderMe: If something suddenly changed, you couldn’t work, I had to go back to work for much less than I should theoretically make–and you had to be the one to stay home and homeschool–would you still be committed to it?

Husband: Yes. I think so. (Pause.) But I’d have to work on my patience and short temper.

Me: Yes. Right. But it’s that important to you now?

Husband: Yes.

Me: I thought so. But I wanted to be sure.

My husband and I have had a successful homeschooling experience so far. Based on that experience, we would make a lot of changes and sacrifices to keep homeschooling our kids, even if our world drastically changed now. We can say this in hindsight. I don’t know if we would have had the courage, however, to leap into homeschooling had we not started this way or if we would have had great barriers facing us originally. I’d like to think we would have, but we’re pretty practical people and it just may not have seemed like the right decision at that time.

We have had some barriers, don’t get me wrong. I worked part-time originally. We had a slow reader, and I was secretly worried I wasn’t doing enough. We had a couple of pregnancies and babies. We had a sick family member. We moved half-way across the United States. I had to decide how important working was to my self-identity. There are always barriers, I guess.

But I think what I’m trying to say today to you, is that knowing what I know now, both my husband and I agree that homeschooling provides benefits and opportunities for our family which we would be willing to drastically change our lifestyle for. However, in saying that, I am well aware of the self-journey it would take even for us committed homeschoolers. Having two cars is nice. Having one parent stay home is nice. Having cable TV and wireless internet is nice. Keeping my heat at 72 degrees is nice. Having earned my degrees and worked. These things are nice. The Terri Now knows, for us, it’s all worth giving up. The Terri Then would be scared. Maybe too scared.

What do I like best about our homeschooling family?  I like it when my husband gets home early, the kids are here to see him.  I like it that my kids are forced to get along, and that I am forced to find ways to make that happen.  I like it that we have much, much more time to pursue subjects earlier and incorporate them into school, like music, Spanish, sewing, astronomy, and typing.  I like it that we dictate our schedule; it doesn’t feel so frantic–and with kids of all ages, I know that they’d most likely be in three different schools.  I like teaching my kids how to cook and do laundry.  I like that they don’t eat processed foods. I like it that we’re not sick so often.  I like so many things about it.  My husband obviously does too.  And with a driven, perfectionistic surgeon’s mentality, yeah, he’d have to work on his temper.  It says a lot that he’d be willing to.

Lately, I’ve received some e-mails about homeschooling. I offer what I can from my point of view. But, I am only one. If you homeschool and have any thoughts to offer those contemplating changing their whole lives to do this–basically turning their families’ lives upside-down, what would you say? Would you share and say it in the comments?

Have a good rest of the week.  Effect positive change somewhere, in your own way.

~~Terri

Molly Green Magazine Published Twenty Tips I Wrote Up To Help Families With Diet Change

 

 

“Is this Your New Year’s Resolution?  Tips to Transition to a Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Lifestyle,” an excerpt from Molly Green Magazine

(an article by Terri Fites)

“. . . Expect resistance and outside cheating. There may be fits, pouting, defiance, and outside cheating. Failure, both intentional and unintentional, will occur. Be prepared to regroup, identify chinks in the plan, and get back on track. Remember how manyMG 1 times you had (have) to tell your kids to say “please” before they actually did (do) it!

Recognize the difference between an allergy and intolerance/sensitivity.

Tell kids what symptoms you’re watching for so they can recognize when they disappear or worsen in response to diet. Kids with uncomfortable symptoms like stuffy noses, sneezing, coughing, constipation, upset stomachs, headaches, eczema, reflux, and trouble focusing often will self-regulate their diets once they get to feeling better . . .”

Click HERE for the FULL ARTICLE.

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Molly Green MagazineIf you’re interested, I wrote an article for Molly Green Magazine, a magazine all about the home:  homeschooling, homemaking, home industry, and homesteading.  Titled “Tips to Transition to a Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Diet,” my article highlights what I learned as I transitioned my food-sensitive family to a whole foods, gluten-free, and dairy-free diet.  I do not get paid to write; it is a hobby I enjoy.  I just thought if you were struggling to pull your family along to better, whole foods eating, and working through some food elimination, you might enjoy the article.  (And I don’t think it’s fair to blog readers or magazine readers to replicate material verbatim.)  My kids and I did not really come willingly to this lifestyle, but even they can now admit that they feel better.  You can get this magazine edition for free.  There are some other great articles in there, too, which actually tie right in with the theme of this blog (nutrition, homeschooling, families, etc):

  • Cilantro/Coriander: One Plant with Many Applications
  • Why My Husband and I Still Hold Hands
  • Cultivating Talent and Passion in Children
  • Could You Grow Your Own Food in a Crisis?
  • Basic Hive Protection (about bees)
  • The Emotions of Butchering
  • Meal Planning 101: How to Get It Done
  • Fighting the Winter Blues

Molly Green Magazine 2I believe the editor told me they were going to make my article from Molly Green Magazine into a one-page lay out that may be hung on the refrigerator, in case that’s something that would interest you.  Although its title suggests that I’m simply interested in gluten-free and dairy-free changes, you’ll know from reading my blog that that is not the case.  So many of the health ailments of our society are directly linked to poor nutrition.  I focus on getting people to eat whole foods, lots of vegetables and fruits, and then watching out for side effects of foods, adjusting things as needed.

It is two weeks into January.  If you have failed, IT IS OKAY.  Do not use that chip as an excuse to throw away a perfectly good mug.  Get back to work.  One day at a time.  And weave that into strings of days at a time.  And eventually, create a masterpiece diet just for you to last a whole lifetime.  DON’T GIVE UP.  If you do, CPAP machines, multiple prescriptions, and a more and more sedentary life await you.

~~Terri

 

Keep Those Herbs at Hand

 

Keep the Herbs Handy

I like to use fresh herbs. But there’s been many a time that I’ve let them squander in the refrigerator drawer, wasted. I’ve taken to buying the two herbs I use most, parsley and cilantro.  To avert their tragic end, I now promptly wash them, cut off their ends, and put them into a cup of water. They sit cheerily on the counter, where I remember to snag some as I am cooking. Where do I use them? All over the place!

Parsley loves to be chopped or cut for soups, spaghetti sauce, baked cod and salmon, and on top of salads. If you serve potatoes and rice as side dishes, add some chopped parsley. Wherever you think the taste won’t interfere, add some! It also helps the kids get used to flecks of green in their food.

Cilantro gets cut and stirred into mashed avocado or served on top of cubed avocado. It accents soups. It adds a touch to a can of sardines. It, too, can easily be cut into a salad without overpowering the taste. Serve along side shrimp and other seafood.

In alternative circles, these two herbs are known for “detoxification.” They are reported to help with glutathione production (one of the most potent anti-oxidants in your body and made BY your body) and heavy metal chelation (like mercury). I’m not studied up enough to write on those factors yet, but I like these herbs and I know they offer anti-oxidants, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K.

I thought you might like to know how I make sure and incorporate a little of them into my diet and my family’s diet each day–and not let them waste in the fridge.

Preparation at a good time helps keep your perfect diet in motion at a bad time.

Did I mention that if you are in the midst of changing your diet to eat mostly fresh, whole foods, “YOU CAN DO THIS!”?  Don’t stop now!

Terri

Female Doctors in the Trenches of Home

Medieval_kitchenThere were four of us in medical school who studied together, drank coffee together, went to movies together, and ate at McDonald’s together.  Medical school was almost fun because of these girls.  We keep in good touch still.  They all work, trying to shuffle life, kids, and gainful employment.  When I stumbled upon dietary changes (big changes) to treat disease, I immediately shared my experience and research with my friends.  There is one in particular who I harped and harangued on, in no gentle terms (I was meanly blunt), to change her eating and her kids’ eating due to a family history of celiac and dementia.  She thought I was OVER THE TOP, and anyhow with working and moving, she just didn’t have the time. A year ago, she finally took the bull by the horns, caught THE KITCHEN ON FIRE WITH COCONUT OIL, and is as impressed as I am.  We are working on a third medical school friend now, Dot, trying to help her see what this diet stuff can “cure” for her.  On Monday, January 5th, Dot started “eating this way” as a two-week trial (Only two weeks?  I’ll take what I can get.), and she recruited a friend from her residency, Hannah, to come along.  All of us have been in communication by text and e-mail to support, cheer, and share ideas and recipes.  Here is a letter my friend wrote to encourage Dot and Hannah in their endeavors.  I am so proud of her!  It is not easy to work, raise four kids, and put low inflammatory foods on the table!  Or to defy the straight-jacket grip of traditional medicine.

Maybe the change in medicine’s stance on nutrition will occur in the home!  One mom, one family at a time.

I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to read her letter.  It may be the encouragement you need to eat better and to convert your family.  I wish I could share all of our texts and letters to keep you motivated, too.  But this will have to do.  This letter is shared with permission, changed names, and some italics/bolding/underlining/coloring/capitalization to perk it up for aesthetic purposes.

HEY ALL!

Try not to get discouraged. Yes, sugar withdrawal is real! At least for me! In fact, Terri will remember that early in my journey I concluded that it was not the gluten that I was addicted to, but the sugar! I personally can’t believe how much I’m noticing it just from the holidays, even though in all reality I didn’t consume that much sugar (compared to years past) because so many treats have gluten, which I never eat, and dairy, which I try to avoid as well…

I know you guys have kind of gone COLD TURKEY on everything, which in some ways is easier, but in other ways it’s harder. I personally prefer a “WEAN” period before I go cold turkey…it seems to make the absolute a little easier for me. But, the fact of the matter is, somehow you just have to make it through a few weeks, and then the cravings get much, much better!

When I first started a year ago, my main goal was to completely eliminate gluten, processed foods, and all refined sugars, using only honey and maple syrup. I have antibodies and am considered “sensitive,” my sister has celiac, and another sister is like me. Both of my daughters have the same gene for celiac as my sister and at least one of them most likely has celiac–unfortunately in retrospect we didn’t do antibodies in kids, just genetics, prior to d/c gluten, making it too late to check antibodies now. Both of my boys most definitely have issues with gluten and stopping gluten has eliminated a multitude of medical issues, including 8 and 10 years of GERD requiring PPIs [proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec]–which they are now off of, headaches that were occurring several times a week, and some neurological weakness in my oldest.

Anyways, when I stopped the gluten,I LITERALLY DREAMED OF MUFFINS AT NIGHT.  I mean seriously, I am not making this up. It lasted about 2-3 weeks and then no more. It took several weeks to months and really the addition of no dairy to really feel better. My kids showed some improvements immediately (one daughter’s unexplained rash was gone within 3 weeks) and others over a longer period of time. I can absolutely tell when my kids get into food they shouldn’t. It’s way more noticeable now because it is a lot easier to pinpoint, and the behavior changes, etc are so much more pronounced. Food dye should be banned! I know Terri will second me on that! It’s waaaay worse than sugar, which I don’t worry all that much about with my kids!

It probably seems hard to do this forever (and the cooking is a pain in the butt, I will not lie) BUT eventually you will seriously feel so much better. And, you will likely bring your family along on your adventure, and they too will feel better. And, more amazingly, you will start to change your taste buds and actually prefer to eat this way! Terri and I comment all the time that we don’t realize how “weird” we eat. (Ok, for the record Terri eats way weirder than me! LOL!) We forget how far removed from the norm we are.

The craziest thing I’ve noticed is that despite complaints about too many vegetables and no junk food (total lie on my kids part, we have junk food, it’s just different than before!), MY KIDS ALSO PREFER TO EAT THIS WAY!!!! And, my oldest (11) will actually acknowledge he feels better (when he’s not being too sassy and disagreeable…). My kids do not eat very much at my parents or in-laws, and they normally pound the food at our house. We seriously think it’s because they now prefer fresh, unprocessed foods prepared the way we do (and don’t even get me started on our parent’s “attempts” at healthy…) Also, do not be discouraged if you have picky eaters! All 4 of mine would have qualified as EXTREMELY picky a year ago.

And, I might add that at the beginning dinners could be painful. HOWEVER, they seriously eat the food I fix. Now, not all of them eat all of what I fix. Everyone has their like and dislike list. However, they all eat way more vegetables than I could have ever dreamed of a year ago. When we first started, dinner every night was a meat and two vegetables. They didn’t have to eat both, but had to try one bite (occasionally I caved on the trying part) and then they could pick the one they wanted. People always say, my kids won’t eat that stuff, blah, blah. Guess what? Mine wouldn’t either, until there was NOTHING else to eat! Now, my oldest who hated broccoli (and still doesn’t like it) eats it without complaint. One day I commented on this, asking him if he’d grown to like it. His response, “well, I’ve had a lot worse.” Ha! He REALLY hates Brussels sprouts! It is a long process, and we so aren’t there yet at all in my house. I’m continually attempting to improve things. Just hang in there. It really does get easier.

And, Dot, no worries about the cookie bribery with your kids! I absolutely have been known to bribe veggie eating with dessert! In fact, especially at the beginning, I made quite a few almond flour cookies, muffins, etc, because I needed to keep my kids on board with this. And, I wanted the older ones to be willing to say “no” to the gluten treats at school, ballgames, etc, by providing non-gluten alternatives at home. I believe Terri has even been known to pay a kid to eat a vegetable! THE GOAL IS TO GET THEM TRYING THINGS, AND EVENTUALLY EATING THINGS.  My kids actually eat a much larger variety of food in general now than they used to. And so do I for that matter! When my kids complain something is awful, that I agree really isn’t very good (my recipes do flop sometimes) my response is, “You’re right. It’s not the greatest, but is it edible? Then eat it. We can’t always be eating our favorite foods!” We are most definitely still evolving though.

I will text you guys pics of a couple of recipes that I have used this week. I think they fit the parameters of your diet, but not positive. However, they are very kid friendly, not that complicated, and “normal food” if you’re cooking for the whole family. We had sloppy joe’s last pm (I serve on romaine lettuce boats, some kids prefer eating with a spoon, or for a real treat I serve with a few “Boulder canyon” potato chips for dipping, which are just potatoes, avocado oil, and sea salt) and a beef roast in the crock pot tonight, that is a very easy recipe and several of my friends whom I have made it for after babies, surgery, etc have liked, and they are used to eating a “normal American” diet, so your families should approve!

Hang in there ladies. I will have to admit that you guys are motivating me. I actually got my butt on the treadmill for 30 minutes yesterday, and plan to do the same again today. (I realize you do not know me Hannah, but I hate exercising more than I love sugar! LOL)

Good luck with your cooking!

X

From Terri (me):  So what do you think?  Can you overhaul your nutrition?  These medical doctor mamas are!  I’m doing my best, in a very slow manner I know because my own family comes first, to provide you the research to back it up.  To help you explain it to a spouse or a friend.  I wish I could be faster.  I try to remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  The research is there.  Eat real food.  Stay away from sugar and processed flours.  Funnel in produce, fresh meats, and seafood.  I know it’s hard.  I know it’s expensive.  But we cut costs when we quit buying junk food.  Quit eating out much.  And stopped paying like 12-15 copays a month.  You can do this.  ~~Terri

Salmon OCD Dip

 

Today’s recipe is my take on a delightful appetizer made by a mysterious, black-haired, smokey eyed, Romanian gypsy who weaves her Eastern Romanian fare with Italian and Camaroonian accents.  With her help, I have learned to appreciate wpid-IMAG1331.jpgtraditional foods full of nutritional goodness.  I could sit all day and listen to her stories of growing up in a Communist state.

She made this appetizer for a get-together and served it with Belgian endive leaves.  I told her I think she is a great cook.  She attributes it to the fact that, because she has been many places besides the United States, she has no preconceived idea of what she “needs” to make to please people.  So she is free to “just make.”

I think this would be a great dip to take to a Super Bowl party.  It is called Salmon OCD Dip to help you remember why it is so good for you.  Omega-3.  Calcium.  Vitamin D.

Salmon OCD Dip

1 can of salmon, 14.75 ounces (I use wild-caught, intact salmon, meaning the bones and skin included.)
1/2 tin of sardines
10 capers or more
1/2 of a small onion, chopped
1/4 cup of softened palm shortening or leftover bacon drippings
Juice of one lemon
1/2-1 teaspoonful of salt
Optional:  2 small, thin anchovies

Put the salmon in a food processor, blender, or mini food processor.  Don’t look at the disgusting mixture.  Just think and repeat “omega-3, calcium, and vitamin D.”  Process well.

Add the sardines, capers, onion, palm shortening or bacon drippings, salt and lemon juice.  (And the anchovies if desired.)    Process well.

Transfer to serving bowl.  I prefer to serve this with fresh carrots and sliced apples.  My friend served it with Belgian endive which she had separated into “boats” and arrayed on the serving platter.  Lovely.

Family “gustar” report:  My kids won’t try it.  If your kids love seafood a lot, it may go.  If they don’t, probably won’t.  My husband and I both think it’s great.

I wish you health and hope that you will consider what intensive nutrition could do to help you attain it, even if it seems like a problem that would have NO nutritional connection.  You may be very surprised.  I was.

Terri

Sixteen Tips to Raising Well-Adjusted Children

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Which one were you?  The perfectionist one?  The hellion?  The two-faced Sally?  Maybe you were the one hiding, cowering in the wings, scared all the time.  How long did it take you to relax?  To learn that life is okay?  That you are okay?  That throwing your shoulders back and lifting a smile and giving a renewed effort is better than crying, huffing off, or telling off?  How long did it take you to become well-adjusted to life?  Or are you still getting used to it?

I have a homeschool mission statement:  To raise daughters who are physically, mentally, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.  My goal is to raise daughters at peace with who they are, where they came from, and what they have (and don’t have).  I don’t want lost souls wandering without aim, who bristle at every perceived (or real) slight and criticism.  Who hide from life’s problems.  I want my girls to know that there will always be somebody smarter or faster or prettier or richer or better-dressed or church-ier.  There is always somebody BETTER.  And always somebody to throw it in their face and criticize them.

I hope for my daughters a well-adjusted attitude toward themselves, toward life, and toward others.  I don’t know how to get there.  I don’t know how much parenting really changes things.  I’m hoping to hear what others think, either as they go through this parenting stuff with me, or as they look back.  But I’ve rounded up some ideas to help my kids steer toward well-adjusted.

Steering towards well-adjusted

1. Give kids awareness of their own individual strengths.  Please don’t limit it to the mundaneness of sports, school, or music.  Some kids easily learn a foreign language. Some kids can sense a person’s discomfort and reach out to console. Some kids possess deep loyalty. Some kids are good at expressing opinions. Some can cook.  Some run like the wind.  Some know how to keep quiet.  Some are great with little children.  These are ALL wonderful, but quite different, strengths, easily overlooked.  The world will be more than happy to tear kids down, but maybe they’ll remember what mom and dad said they were good at, even if it doesn’t translate to success in school or on the court.

2.  It may be a strength if it drives you insane.  A child’s strength may come across as an irritating trait.   (Ahem.  This applies well to spouses too.)  Bounding energy. Constant singing.  Super-human independent streaks.  Talking incessantly.  All these are actually strengths which can be very irritating to us parents and often push us to sad parenting moments.  Stop.  Separate yourself from your irritation and yelling to see if what is driving you crazy about your child is actually a strength in disguise.  Once you identify it as a strength rather than an irritation, perhaps you can take steps to funnel the strength down appropriate avenues–high intensity sports, singing lessons, and appropriate chores which require more independence and responsibility.

3.  Ain’t none of us perfect.  Gently and with the utmost love and best intentions communicate to them their faults (which unfortunately can also be their greatest strength).  Facilitate strategies and techniques to not allow their faults to interfere with life and confidence.  Lazy bones?  Absent-mindedness?  Perfectionistic?  Bossiness?  Shyness?  Too helpful?  Too gullible?  Too needy?  Too overbearing?  Too sloppy?  Too mouthy?  Too opinionated?  Too nice?  I prefer my children to be aware of their little foibles before they sneak out at age 16 to party with friends.  Or before they embark on this voyage called “marriage.”

4. Remind them that another person’s strength does not imply they have a weakness.  Many children feel that if they are not as good as somebody else at something, then they are “no good at all.”  Even within a family, complimenting one child brings about fears of inadequacy in another child.  In my own family, if we compliment one child on her increasing use of Spanish, another automatically seems to hear that she’s not so good at Spanish.  If one child pounds out a popular song by ear on the piano, another later tells me, “I’m no good at piano.”  If one beats another in sprints, the defeated one walks over to the porch to sit down.  Is it a human tendency to think if you’re not the best then you’re “no good?”  Or is it just a competitive personality?  Or sibling rivalry?  Regardless, ouch, man.  Ouch.  It’s not a good thought-burden to carry.

5.  Help your child to not take themselves so seriously by not taking yourself so seriously.  Laugh at yourself when you make mistakes as a person and parent.  Point out to your children your own mistakes and hang-ups.  Although we should always try to be the best we can be, crazy, embarrassing stuff happens.  Laugh!  It feels good.  You really want the statement– “They’re laughing with you and not at you.”–to be true.

6. Teach them that the word “smart” (and other such reductionistic words) should always be followed by the preposition “in” or “at.”  Every person should understand that there are hundreds of kinds of smart.  I’ve seen a lot of “smart” people who should never have failed, fall flat on their faces.  Smart in math does not mean smart in life.

7. Provide a strong foundational belief system and ethical code.  It is easier to remodel a house than build a new one with unfamiliar tools.  Do you get what I’m saying?  They may not agree with my religion later, but they’ve got something to work with.

8. Be willing to admit you’re wrong.  Admit to yourself and your kids you don’t have all the answers. You may have it wrong.

9. Be able to see both sides of most stories and explain them to kids. But finish up with what you believe and why.

10. Never place exceptional value in things. 

12. Allow them to choose their own clothes at as young of an age as they wish, adhering to simple rules that fit your decency code.  I personally make sure my rules can be backed up with reasoning.  It has nothing to do with colors.  I don’t like leggings when we head out because weirdo men like to look at heinies.

13. Don’t put other people and events above the people and events in your own home.  Kids innately know what is important to you.

14. Try to not associate with only one stereotypical class of people. Make friends who are from India. Romania. Africa. Make friends who are doctors. Farmers. Construction-workers. Factory workers. Find people who like to sew. Cook. Run. Talk. Make friends who are Catholic. Lutheran. Hindi. Atheist. Make friends who are younger. Older. Much, much older. The same age.

15. Let them do it themselves.  Let them try while you abstain from criticism.  Offer encouragement.  Bite bleeding holes in your tongue if you must.

16.  Provide security.  Let your home be a place of warmth.  Safety.  Consistency.  Acceptance.

Would you take a turn?  What thoughts can you share for us to think on?

 

Terri

 

Don’t Give Up

Mount_Everest_from_Rongbuk_may_2005

Today you are scared.  You are hopeful.  You are optimistic.  But you are scared.

Today the insanity of Christmas eating finally and truly comes to an abrupt end.  Today you have chosen, and the rest of the world will finally let you, to start over with your eating.  You—will—eat—better.  But why the fear?  What’s that niggle?  Niggle—go away!  Go away!  Niggle won’t go away.  What’s it saying?  Let’s listen.

It is saying, “You failed.  Last year you failed.  The year before that you failed.  And the year before that you failed.  You always fail.  You’re no good at this.  This year, you will fail too.  It is just a matter of time before you fail.  The journey is too great.  It’s too big.  Too overwhelming.”  Is the niggle right?  Have you failed?  Are you starting your New Year in doubt?  Is it too much to take on?

I understand your doubt.  Historically speaking, your doubt is right.  The precedent has been set.  The journey is big.  But I challenge you.  I challenge you to permanent change.  Forever change.  A forever diet.  A diet that when there is turbulence and chaos all around you, you can run back to its safe harbor.  Oh, yes!  Yes!  Tell me!  What is it?  Well, I cannot tell you your “forever diet.”  You must seek it out for yourself.  But there are some good common starting points that if you implement, will get you pretty darn close.  Start here.  And for now, try thinking in absolutes, despite what the “diet” experts say.

The rules I either play by–or have played by:

1.  Eat no processed food.  Eat no processed food.  Eat no processed food.  If sugar was added, put it back.  If flavor was added put it back.  If color was added, put it back.  If preservatives were added, put it back.  If it has been bleached or ground, you should strongly consider putting it back.  You will eat no processed food.

2.  This is important. Keep a spiral bound notebook of lined paper on the kitchen counter. Write everything down which passes your lips each day.  Best if you eyeball measure it too if you are struggling with low weight or excess weight.  You will do this for at least six months.  Up to two years, depending on how mired down you are.  In this notebook, besides what you eat, you will briefly note each day how you feel and ANY bodily symptoms too.  The goal is to see patterns in what you eat and how you feel and function.  It takes months, so keep at it!  Don’t get lazy.  Don’t get settled.  Don’t get down.  Write it down.  This notebook is your accountability partner.  It’s watching you so you can watch yourself.

3.  Eliminate all grains and dairy foods for thirty days. Pick your 30 days and steel yourself. Do this fanatically.  No cheating.  Some bodies do not do well with grains and dairy.  They just don’t.  Cheating is like picking the scab off of your boo-boos. Boo-boos don’t heal if the scabs keep getting picked. So make the 30 day test a strict one or else you will not get an honest response from your body.

  • When you bring grains and dairy back in, don’t bring them in at the same time. Pick either grains or dairy to start with. Don’t bring both back in together.
  • When grains come back in, do so one grain at a time, preferably starting with gluten-free grains. (Geesh, this will take forever. No. Not forever. Just a long time.)
  • Write in your notebook. Notice how you felt those 30 days without dairy and grains. Observe if food cravings pick back up when you start eating them again. Observe if your grouchy mood comes back. Or your “yell voice.” Or your acne. Or your constipation. Write it down. Take the food group back out if something seemed to come back, even if you are incredulous that they could be related!
  • If you see that grains and dairy DO have a strange hold over you, that’s no good. Talk to a nutritionist about how to develop a good diet without grains and dairy. It can be done. “What will I eat?” There is plenty. Take your choice be a sick, grumpy butt with grains and dairy—or seek out a new forever diet which is nutritious and keeps you feeling good and smiling. It is your choice. Others have gone before you, and they are looking back at you, saying, “Come on. Come on. The waters are good. (So are the apples and Brussels.)”  And also look into “leaky gut” to see if tackling this issue would help you be able to introduce certain grain and dairy products that you think would benefit you.5. Regulate sugar (in ALL its forms) like it’s the last $20 you have to your name, and you don’t know if and when you’ll get more.

6.  Use fats and oils to flavor your foods to taste. To make this easy for now, because it is a complex topic, stick with extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil.  (Butter is good after you’ve made sure you tolerate it.)  These two fats have good health properties and studies now behind them.  Use them to make your unprocessed foods taste yummy.  You need to let go of the fat-free fad.  We don’t like food fads.  Fat-free was a food fad.  Well, actually it was a misunderstanding!

7. Choose foods you like, but make sure they are not processed. Try some new foods you’re afraid of.

8. Find some seafood you like and tolerate.

9. Eat lots of vegetables. Plan meals around vegetables. Don’t limit yourself to salads.  Roast them.  Boil them.  Mash them.  Grate them.  Fill your plate with them.  Roasted are my favorite, by the way.  Roasted till they have a golden brown color and then splashed with some olive oil and salt.

When you have this down, if you’re still not feeling well, don’t be afraid to look deeper.  But I’ll betcha’ you’ll be pert near close.

Closing

This would be a great start to your journey.  Don’t be afraid.  Don’t give up.  Don’t fight the same battle over and over in the same darn way.  Regarding diet, it is often said that people don’t do well with absolutes.  They do better with moderation.  For some people, I think that is true.  For others, like me, I think that is a gross lie.  I have done well the last two-three years with a mind set that acknowledges that I simply can’t have certain things.  Period.  I did beat my head in several times (lots of times), but with honesty, I moved to the secure knowledge that I am safe if I abstain.  It hurt to admit I wasn’t strong enough to control my eating.  But in this way, this more absolute way, I have found success.

So do you think your forever diet might need to be more absolute?  No.  I know you don’t want it to be.  But that’s not what I asked.  Don’t try a new diet per se.  Try a new mindset.  Find out what control food has over you, and then break those bonds.  Stay away from processed foods.  Stay away from sugar.  Figure out other weak links, like dairy and grains.

And lastly–

I do caution people about vitamin and mineral deficits.  Our processed foods are supplemented with artificial forms of vitamins to try to make up for common deficits.  Those deficits can’t be ignored just because you’re eating a “good” diet!  The common deficits are the B vitamins, vitamin D, iodine, and calcium.  Usually by making sure you eat salmon, seafood, some red meat, eggs, lots of leafy greens (particularly spinach and kale), and broccoli, you do a pretty good job covering bases.  Sometimes a calcium supplement or iodized salt or other supplementation may be needed.  See your doctor for health problems.  Don’t be an ostrich.  Take good care of yourself.

Good luck!  You can do it!  Take the first step, and each day, just keep stepping.  Use your accountability tablet.  Absolutely avoid processed food.  Regulate sugar.  Watch out for pesky foods which cause side effects.

~~Terri