Category Archives: Wellness

A Stay-At-Home Mom’s Diet Enters Medical Research

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When I used to work as a physician, I wondered what it’d be like to stay home with the kids full-time. Some moms would say, “I HAVE to work. My kids drive me crazy.” I always thought to myself that I’d still like to try it and see. Maybe crazy is a state of bliss that I’d like quite a lot.

I did get to stay home, and to my chagrin, I did fall into crazy. Crazy nutrition. At first, I honestly did wonder if I had taken neurotic to its pinnacle, but I kept reading and reading. And over the short four years since I began having any interest in nutrition at all, other than having the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, there have been some major upheavals in medicine regarding nutrition, particularly regarding fat and cholesterol. But I know there will be more.

One upheaval that intrigues me, because I swear real food is pixie dust, is doctors using a real food diet to throw inflammatory bowel disease into remission without medicine. At Seattle Children’s Hospital, researchers are reversing serious cases of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease using the exact same voodoo, or pixie dust (if you prefer), diet that Elaine Gottschall, a stay-at-home mother of two, used in the 1950s to save her 8 year-old daughter’s life from near-terminal ulcerative colitis. The diet, called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), was the last hope that Elaine had for possibly saving her child’s colon, maybe even the child’s life itself. Permanent poop collection bag? Death? How about we try this weird diet.

Dr. Sidney Valentine Haas’s Stodgy, Misinformed Diet

The SCD is not a new diet. It has been around in some form since approximately the 1920s, when Sidney Valentine Haas, MD was using it on his celiac and severely afflicted gastrointestinal patients.  At this time, there was no known celiac disease and gluten connection. Dr. Haas, using close observation skills and taking good patient histories (all things falling into disfavor in today’s medical climate), felt that starchy carbohydrates and table sugar were bad for his patients. So he developed a diet which removed starchy foods and sugar, making it inherently gluten-free and grain free. He found that his patients did fine with fruit, and he strongly encouraged bananas, and he even thought there was something special about the banana.

His “banana” diet was pretty popular and was used to manage celiac disease until the gluten connection was verified. Then, Haas and banana diets fell into disfavor, ridicule even. However, Dr. Haas, a reportedly kindly man who lived into his 90s, never acquiesced that gluten elimination should be the sole treatment of celiac disease. He remained adamantly suspicious that most starchy carbohydrates were problematic and needed removed for a time (not a lifetime). He genuinely believed in his diet, and if you read closely, he is scorned for never succumbing completely to the hypotheses that gluten is the sole problem for celiac patients.

(Now, I don’t know whether he was right or wrong about gluten. I DO KNOW that there are celiacs who follow a STRICT gluten-free diet, never eating away from home, and I know they still have abdominal issues. So, perhaps his intuition is not as laughable as it seems. Perhaps, as time passes and we learn more, we will find facts that make him more right than wrong. I don’t know. History repeatedly shows genius in ridicule, and maybe there’s more to treating celiac than just taking away gluten.)

A Doctor -Shopping, Stay-at-Home Mom
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This photo of Elaine Gottschall came from http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.com, the official Breaking the Vicious Cycle and SCD website.

 

The SCD would  have probably stopped right there if it hadn’t been for Big Magic (you really should read the book by this title, very good). Elaine Gottschall (now deceased, 1921-2005) called herself an ordinary, happy, stay-at-home, 1950s’ mom. She had two young daughters. One of her daughters, Judy, began experiencing incapacitating gut issues and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the tender age of four years old. Little Judy was so sick and malnourished by the time she was 8, she had stunted growth and even her neurological system was shutting down. Elaine and Herb were told their daughter had two options: colon removal or death. Elaine wouldn’t hear it and refused to take death or colectomy (colon removal) as an answer for her daughter if she could do anything about it.

So she did what all desperate patients do (or parents of patients), she doctor shopped. After much doctor shopping and no hope in sight except surgery, an acquaintance of a friend pointed her to an outdated, nearly ancient physician. She finally landed in the arms (figuratively) of our now 92-year-old Dr. Sydney Valentine Haas. He started her daughter Judy on his version of what is now the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Her daughter improved dramatically within days and even more in the months that followed, living a full life, even being able to eat a very diverse diet eventually.

Humiliating Success

Dr. Haas died within two years of meeting the Gottschall family. Would his diet die with him? No. Elaine Gottschall made it her mission to understand that man’s diet, even going back to school and earning degrees in biology, nutritional biochemistry, and cellular biology. If this diet helped Judy live and get her life back, she wanted to know why and share it with the others who were sick. Many times she wanted to give up, but her husband was convicted that the world needed this information that would be lost without Dr. Haas, and he knew Elaine was just the woman to do it.

Herb encouraged Elaine to write a book eventually called Breaking the Vicious Cycle, do health consults, and speak. She functioned at a grassroots level, and she touched thousands of lives, helping people turn their health around with the SCD. But, sadly, she could never break through to medical circles. Her daughter said: “She also wanted the acceptance from–if not approval of–the medical mainstream, which she never got. She was told stories by mothers who said their doctors would refuse to treat their children if they followed her diet…”

Doctors refusing to treat patients if they tried this diet? A diet that has now entered the halls of medical research with initial success? Elaine’s diet brought success to many suffering patients, but the patients’ doctors wouldn’t have it. How could a simple diet help? How could a stay-at-home mom know what she’s talking about? Who was she to challenge medical management?

Because of Elaine’s tenacity and courage (and ability to persist despite medical contempt), people today may have an opportunity to try diet over drugs. Some doctors are listening to patients and trying the SCD in clinical research. (See my last post.)

Elaine, Herb, and Judy (their daughter), thank you.

Closing

The SCD studies are small and sparse, but they’re pretty remarkable, especially in kids, whose healing capacities are always amazing. IF diet makes a difference, then I think Elaine Gottschall is right, the only way it’s going to get to medical doctors is if patients keep showing them. Dr. Suskind’s studies from Seattle are shedding some light, but they’re so small. With just a snap or a new successful medical discovery, his work will be trampled over forever, as Dr. Haas’s almost was.

Did Dr. Haas have it ALL right? No. Did Elaine Gottschall? No. Does the doctor named Natasha Campbell-McBride (who has taken Elaine Gottschall’s work further in her clinical practice, renaming her diet GAPS)? No. Does Dr. Suskind, a researcher using SCD in his studies? No. But continuing to cut out colons and continuing to prescribe immunosuppressants without ever trying significant dietary modification such as the SCD is irresponsible and, to me, unethical. Medical doctors maliciously, scornfully, and condescendingly name-call and ridicule diet theories they don’t agree with like pompous elitists. And guess what! When we do that, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and the public follow along. Then, we end up in a big mess. Like Days of Our Lives. Please stop the division.

You are never too small. You are never too insignificant. You are always enough. Your experience is for you. Your experience is for others. Live boldly with love and compassion.

Even your cooking can change someone’s life.

Ciao.

Terri

Sites and links I followed for information, which should always be verified before you even think about trusting anything…

Frontiers in Celiac Disease, pages 5-7: https://books.google.com/books?id=gqaDD3jkcfYC&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=haas%27s+banana+diet+celiac+disease&source=bl&ots=pPA2rdAt9_&sig=tgEgHivZWbdeSKX5j1Dajx243Iw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi1xNTukc_RAhVG4IMKHdtmBKo4ChDoAQglMAI#v=onepage&q=haas’s%20banana%20diet%20celiac%20disease&f=false

http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/p/about-the-author/

Recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet by Raman Prasad

Explaining That Diet Does Help Severe “Stomach” Problems

baadsgaard-alfrida-ludovica-vi-opstilling-med-ananas-druer-ogImagine having diarrhea 15 times a day, every day. Add some blood to that. While you try to walk across a university campus. Or coach basketball.  Or serve on a Navy ship in the middle of the vast ocean. Or learn to add, subtract, and multiply.

This is life with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, collectively called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). And when I was a medical student on general surgery, I swear it seems like we were digging around every day in some poor patient’s intestines due to his or her inflammatory bowel disease. Many emerged from surgery with bags to collect their liquid bowel movements.

I feel like I’ve heard it a thousand times. “My doctor says it doesn’t matter what I eat for my Crohn’s disease.” Have you heard that? Do you believe that? That’s 100% false. Research since the 1970s shows that patients can go into remission with special “nutritional shakes.” 

Patients are often convinced that food impacts their disease, but they can’t always pinpoint how or which foods. Medical studies weren’t very helpful in the past; they looked at things like fats, amino acids, and vitamin D, finding some correlations, but nothing to hang their hats on. So hard-working doctors just shrugged their shoulders and said, “It doesn’t really matter, dear patient. Just eat.” [Scram. I’ve got 8 patients waiting to see me. I don’t have time to listen to you speculate about whether or not milk gives you diarrhea.]

But fascinatingly, studies have shown for forty years now, plus or minus, that IBD can be controlled with nutrition! Well, more accurately put, researchers and patients controlled IBD with exclusive enteral nutrition. Exclusive enteral nutrition, EEN for short, is basically just a “nutrition” shake kind of like Ensure or PediaSure, only it tastes much worse. The ingredients in the shake have been pre-digested so they can be absorbed completely in the small intestine.

Studies have repeatedly and reproducibly shown great results for IBD patients and EEN, particularly Crohn’s disease. How great? Well how does upward of 100% sound to you for a remission rate? Would you even settle for a 70% rate? Yeah. That good. I’m cherry picking a little; some studies didn’t have such high success rates, but most did. And some studies that didn’t look all that good to begin with looked better after the study results were adjusted for patients who just couldn’t tolerate the special liquids (often quite a few). Also, results were consistently better for pediatric patients [who often heal more quickly and have to be compliant whether they like it or not—and sometimes choose to be compliant because they feel so much better!]. (Kansal, 2013)

But patients and doctors, I guess, weren’t having that. Too yucky. Too restrictive. (Just for interest, I notice that Nestle seems to make many of these nutritional EENs.)

What’s in that shake?

Great minds pontificated about what it was in the EEN drink which could cause these patients to do so well. They played around with the liquid formulas with good success, trying to make them less repulsive and less expensive. Then they pondered, “Well, can we let our patients eat [cake] and take some of this EEN stuff?”

So researchers let patients drink the liquid EEN formula and have free access to table food at the same time. Yum! With free access to table food, despite the nutritional “shake,” the remission rates weren’t as good as when a patient ate only EEN liquid—but they were better than the patients who received no EEN at all. Aha! So it’s starting to look like something in table food perpetuates increased inflammation in inflammatory bowel disease patients. (Triantafillidis, 2015)

Okay. All Mama’s good table food really threw a wrench in the great effects of the EEN shakes. What next?

Well, allowing table food was a step backward, and researchers thought, “We need another twist. What can we do? This is fun.”

So researchers gave patients nutritional “shakes” and they let them eat only certain allowed foods. (NO CAKE this time. Sorry.) Bingo. Success rates held at about 70% of patients showing improvement and or sustained remission. (I know a lot of doctors who made just 70% in class and are successfully practicing. Pass equals MD, baby. Seventy percent is pretty good.) That’s awesome. How happy would you be to be symptom-free and able to eat some real food?  (Sigall-Boneh, 2014)

It’s 2017. Can we ditch the EEN altogether and just eat real food?

Now, we have to cap it off. Could patients get off of the disgusting “shakes” altogether? (Good-bye, Nestle…) Well, the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology is about to publish a study done by a Dr. Suskind (and his team, of course!) from Seattle Children’s Hospital. Ten pediatric patients followed a diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for three months, and 80% of them had symptoms improve significantly and even resolve and lab markers normalize. Eighty-stinking-percent! Let me repeat: eighty percent success. WITH FOOD.

Way to go Dr. Suskind and team. Way to take medicine back to truly patient-centered, do-no-harm care! And most importantly: WAY TO GO PATIENTS AND PARENTS WHO PARTICIPATED IN THIS STUDY! Changing how you eat is hard work, and most people balk, standing in the corner cowering with too much fear to leave their pizza and bread behind. Not you. Not you. (Suskind, 2017)

[Click here for a readable summary of Suskind’s report and here for an abstract of it.]

Meh. Study needs to be bigger.

Now, I showed someone Suskind’s research summary, and she replied, “But there’s only ten patients. I wish it was bigger.”

Sigh. So do I. But it’s what we’ve got. And it’s so promising. I’m ebullient. Diet alone! Eighty percent remission! With real food. No diarrhea! No bleeding! No stomach cramps! Virtually 100% safe. No injections! No risk of white blood cell counts crashing. Why won’t people try this?

Reminds me of a verse I learned from a big book, although I’ve adapted it. “The fiddle plays and you won’t dance. The singer wails a mournful tune, and you will not cry.” We are hard to please. Impossible nearly. What do we want? A magic bullet pill with no side effects?

I must close now. But you will not want to miss my next post about the amazing stay-at-home mom who made it her life mission to show the world that inflammatory bowel disease can be controlled most of the times with real, whole food. And I’ll explain a little about the diet that saved her 8-year-old daughter’s life and which she spent her life studying and evangelizing.

Terri

Citations:

Kansal, S., et al. “Enteral nutrition in Crohn’s disease: an underused therapy.” Gastroenterology research and practice 2013 (2013).  https://www.hindawi.com/journals/grp/2013/482108/

Triantafillidis, John K., Costas Vagianos, and Apostolos E. Papalois. “The role of enteral nutrition in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: current aspects.” BioMed research international 2015 (2015). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4352452/

Sigall-Boneh, Rotem, et al. “Partial enteral nutrition with a Crohn’s disease exclusion diet is effective for induction of remission in children and young adults with Crohn’s disease.” Inflammatory bowel diseases 20.8 (2014): 1353-1360. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263548102_Partial_Enteral_Nutrition_with_a_Crohn’s_Disease_Exclusion_Diet_Is_Effective_for_Induction_of_Remission_in_Children_and_Young_Adults_with_Crohn’s_Disease

Suskind, D. L., Cohen, S. A., Brittnacher, M. J., Wahbeh, G., Lee, D., Shaffer, M. L., … & Giefer, M. (2017). Clinical and Fecal Microbial Changes With Diet Therapy in Active Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. Abstract only: http://journals.lww.com/jcge/Abstract/publishahead/Clinical_and_Fecal_Microbial_Changes_With_Diet.98120.aspx

The Christmas Victim

2002_blue_room_christmas_treeEven though it’s Christmas time, lately I’ve been noticing how everything is all about me.

Me. Me. Me. Me. Me.

Which is strange, because I feel like all I do is give, give, give, give, give.

Not too long  back I read a book which discussed how certain patterns are maintained in life because someone is hanging on to their victim role. I thought about this. “Nope, not me. I don’t walk around victimized. I’m a ‘doer.’ I don’t take things sitting down. This is not me.”

And I skipped happily along.

Along comes a dream

Then, like in a movie or good book, I had a strange dream. I don’t have many strange dreams. (Thank God. I don’t want strange dreams, and I don’t want strange voices.) What was strange about this dream was that I woke up abruptly from my dream right as I was saying, “We’re all playing our own victim role in life, I guess…” Hmmm. Okay. Not so strange. I hear you. We all talk in our dreams. And notice, it was my own voice. So I’m safe still. Not hearing strange voices.

But what was strange was how I went from hyperdrive, lightspeed dreaming to an abrupt, hard stop, with complete awakeness and those words literally reverberating, echoing in my head. Like one of those balloons they used to make when we were kids. Remember those? The big, tough balloons with long rubber bands attached, and you’d sit there and bounce the ball back and forth: boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. That’s how the words were in my head, until they died off slowly, like the sound of a freight train chugging away from me in the night.

In the loud, dark silence, I grabbed my pen, and I wrote those words down. Scribble. Scribble. Scribble. You’re supposed to write your dreams down, they say. So I wrote it down. I never turn the light on. I just leave a pad by my bed and scribble big, hoping it will be legible in the morning. It rarely is. I don’t know why I bother.

“We’re all playing our own victim role.”

Then the magic happened. Over the last, oh, I don’t know, six months since I dreamed that dream, I’ve seen it!  Watch. Do you see it too?

“Why is it so cold? This weather sucks. Nobody should live in -37 degree F  (-38 degrees C) weather.”

“Why are you up so early? This is my time! No, I won’t read you that book. This. Is. My. Time.”

“Target and Office Max didn’t have the gift I needed. Now I have to go to Wal-Mart. Kill me now.”

“I have four kids I’m homeschooling. Does she really think I have time to talk on the phone an hour? Does everyone think homeschoolers just sit around and read all day?”

“Where is my husband? He said he’d be home early today. This is not early.”

Did you see it?

The victim. I’m playing the victim role. All day. All day.

The weather is the weather. It’s NOT out to get me.

Kids wake up early sometimes. They do. (Remember when you were a kid and you woke up so early on Saturdays that all that was on TV was the screen with those stupid colors? And the ear-splitting, high-pitched, strident sustained tone? Oh, maybe you had cable. I only had an antenna to pick up three stations: Indianapolis, South Bend-Mishawaka, and Ft. Wayne.) My kids aren’t out to get me (yet).

Wal-Mart didn’t send me an invitation. The phone didn’t walk up to my ear. And my husband didn’t go break that kid’s arm so he’d have to operate on it and eat a cold dinner.

I made myself the victim in all these simple, daily situations.

I’ve shared this victim idea with my husband, kids, and some friends. We now have fun walking around poking out each other victim roles. “Oh, you’re such the victim.”

Besides moms like me, kids love the victim role too:

“I didn’t do it.” “It’s not my fault.” “You always blame me.” “She always takes over.” “She pushed me.” “Why does she get to, and I don’t?” “You always take her side.” “She never helps.” “I didn’t have time to practice. I had to go to my sister’s dance show.” “Why do I have to do so much math every day?”

Of course, husbands are good at it too. And friends. And bosses. And really, just about all of us. Especially at Christmas.

We didn’t get the cards out; we just had so much to do. My gifts shipped to the wrong place; I was being rushed out the door while I was typing in the shipping address. Don’t the radio stations know this is the only time of the year to play Christmas music? Why are they playing that stupid song instead?

Or– I don’t even celebrate Christmas, the stores are so busy, and all I want is a flipping loaf of bread. People are so stupid and needy and trashing the earth with all this crap they buy to feed the need. The music offends me. The words “Merry Christmas” offend me.

Find the victim in the feeling

Me. Me. Me. Me! You see it! We’re all playing our own victim roles. Think about it. Let me know what you think!

Is there a victim hiding behind our anger, fear, irritation, and/or overwhelm? Is there? It often takes me a while to see it when I’m irritated, but then when I step back, I am learning to see that I have placed myself as the victim being acted upon. Sometimes it’s my headache acting on me. Sometimes it’s my kids. Sometimes it’s the weather. Sometimes it’s even the radio station not playing Christmas music.

Yes, there are times that people truly are victims, like abusive relationships and war. Perhaps the feelings that the victim role bring about were placed in us to help prevent us from being placed in situations where we are dangerously victims. I don’t know.

All I know is that for me, the victim mentality is not a necessary piece of my life. I will not accept it.

Well, from my heart to yours, here’s to a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or just a great December 25th. Embrace the season. Embrace every single bit of it. The late cards. The lines. The weather. The stupid radio DJ’s. The UPS. The different cultures and sub-cultures screaming to be heard. All of it.

They make movies we love about this stuff! It must be worth something! God have mercy on us.

The best to you,

Terri

PS: The book I read with a section on this was called The Loving Diet, Jessica Flanigan.

Which Supplement Is Best?

pillsI’ve noticed that when people are told a particular kind of supplement is good to buy, let’s say for fish oil, they often go and buy other supplements from the same maker, say for a multi-vitamin or B vitamin complex.

Caution. This is not a wise idea.

There is no one best manufacturer of all vitamins and supplements. The maker of one of the best fish oil supplements does not make the best multi-vitamin. The maker of a great probiotic doesn’t make a very good B vitamin complex. So don’t buy all your vitamins and supplements from the same manufacturer just because you think they make the best of everything. They may get a “Best All-Around” award, but that doesn’t make each product truly the best. Just improves your odds a bit.

I highly recommend that you research each of your supplements. There are many ways to do this, and I recommend not just trusting one source. Some people like Consumer Reports. Some people like Amazon. Some people go to their favorite blogging site. (Heck, some people even still ask their doctor!) Don’t put all your trust in one basket! Compile all that information to make a supplement choice.

If your doctor suggests a supplement to you, don’t just run to Wal-Mart and buy the cheapest one–or even the most expensive one.  Cost is not always a predictor of the quality of a supplement. Which store you buy from is not always a predictor of the quality of a supplement! Each supplement and ingredient in a supplement has its own inherent list of questions that need asked and answered.

After you’ve looked at the ingredients and how they’re supplied and processed, then you can start looking at costs, narrowing it down as needed to the cheapest of the supplements left for you to choose from.

Supplements are designed differently for different purposes. You need to know what you want to take a supplement for to determine which supplement you want.

For example, some people take resveratrol. One person wants it for their arthritis, while another person wants it to help decrease their risk of dementia. Well, resveratrol can be formulated different ways to get it to different parts of the body. So the resveratrol these two people want would be differently formulated! Knees aren’t brains.

Another example, of which there are many, would be magnesium. Some people take magnesium for headache prevention. Others need it for their sluggish GI tracts. These two groups of people should not be taking the same formulation of magnesium! Some kinds of magnesium are known to be very well absorbed, and that’s the kind the “head-acher” would want. Other magnesium forms are not so well absorbed, drawing water into the GI tract and encouraging bowel movements. That’s what the person with the sluggish GI would want! Each person may “need” some magnesium, but if they choose the wrong form, it won’t do what they need it to do! (Or it’ll do more than they want it to do!)

Look at each ingredient in a supplement. I’m going to tell you. It’s darn hard to get the best form of each ingredient into a multi-ingredient supplement. I’ll be reading through a mulit-vitamin label, nodding my head happily, and then I’ll hit an ingredient which makes me frown. Does that mean to scrap the whole bottle? I don’t know. It usually depends. Who is it for? What’s their diet like? How much can they spend? What’s their health like?

But many people reading this may have issues which require the best and most natural form or vitamin or supplement. So just be aware. Be knowledgeable.

Make food your main source of vitamins and supplements. You can’t out-supplement a bad diet. When I was in medical school and pharmacy school, I remember the professors standing up there—kind of like the Ronald Reagan line—“Read my lips…”—saying, “Most people today don’t need multi-vitamins.”

It echoes in my brain. Why? Because I ate horribly at these times! I lived on bagels, Pop Tarts, cereal, pizza, and restaurant Indian food. Oh! And Diet Coke from McDonald’s. And my gut started stopping. And my brain started aching. And my hormonal system started screaming.

Never once did I hear a professor say, “As long as your patient is eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, meats, seafood, and other real, whole foods, you know, they probably don’t need any vitamins.” That’s closer to the truth.

Eat real, whole foods. Find out which foods have the “supplement” you want!

Conclusion

Well, thanks for reading. I just wanted to take a moment to communicate a little bit about supplements. How one brand doesn’t make the best of everything. Why one supplement may be the rock-star for one person but not another.

There are SO many supplements out there. Be careful. Be cautious. Ask your doctor to make sure it’s safe for your body and safe with anything else you may be taking or doing. Don’t use anything on my blog site as medical guidance.

And please, always be careful when using supplements.

Terri

 

Help Me Stop This Destructive Pattern

Okay, dear friend. You said you can’t stop eating. You asked me to set you straight. So here it is.

  • ONE) It is winter. The body is craving dense, high fat, high caloric foods. It wants food. The light is low. It’s freezing. The body knows what it has done for thousands of years. Thank it for doing a good job for you. Its job.
  • TWO) Eat your foods. Enjoy them. Eat them gone. Eat a little then toss them. However you want. Binge. Savor over days. Eat them plain. Make your favorite dish with them. However. Be happy that food tastes so good. That temporarily it makes you feel so good! What joy is there in eating cardboard?
  • THREE) Accept you will feel crumby for a few days. Accept it may even exacerbate things over the next month. Don’t fight it. Don’t beat yourself up. Just accept it. You did what you did. You had your reasons. And now, you’ll journey forward. Pointing fingers simply wastes time and emotional resources. Pointing fingers is not productive except to tell you that there is resentment, fear, and anger.
  • FOUR) Resolve, after the food is eaten, to move from this place. You know your safe diet. You know what you like to eat to feel your best. Reassure your body that the feasting and celebration was great, and you thoroughly enjoyed it. You have let guilt go in favor of true appreciation. But you will now move back to where it likes to live. Routines are nice. Routines are reassuring. Rigid schedules are not. You’ve proved you’re not rigid. Good. But get back to the routine if you know that is ideal for you.
  • FIVE) When you try to get back to your routine, and you keep falling off, explore that. Again, no pointing fingers. That’s wasteful. Look. Are you really hungry? Are you really bored? Are you really sad? Are you really just wanting a distraction from the kids or the housework? Are you feeling sorry for yourself because it takes more work for you to feel good compared to other people? Are you simply tired?Then, ask yourself, what can you do. What can you do to go back to your routine? Is that routine really best for you? Or is there something about your food routine you need to change that is keeping you from easily jumping back on board? Do you need to eat earlier? Do you need to include a food that you know is marginal in your tolerance? Do you need to deal with a relationship? Are you feeling trapped by your diet, lifestyle, life?

    A struggle with the routine says there’s something that needs communicated to yourself. Either about the routine itself or the person who wants to adhere to the routine. Maybe it’s not the right routine. Or maybe it is, but the acceptance isn’t there. Just the ten pointing fingers. (Pointing fingers. Again, I say. Bad.)

  • SIX) NOW, GET YOUR HEAD ON STRAIGHT AND DO WHAT NEEDS DONE!!!!!!! WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION! 🙂 And recognize, it may not be what you thought at the beginning needed done!
Merry Christmas time! What a wonderful time! If you’re feeling stressed and frazzled, regroup. Prioritize. Lower or change expectations. Accept. Offer love and compassion to others and yourself.
The Homeschooling Doctor logoTerri

The Holiday is Over

christmas_decorations_in_a_store_bow_8-1Well, the holiday is over. How did you do? Did you eat too much? Eat the wrong things? Know you’re going to pay for it this week?

What? You still have dinners to go to today and tomorrow? Leftovers staring you in the face?

Come on. You have 38 days left. Thirty-eight days. Thirty-eight days left of holiday food torment. Did your first day set the tone you wanted for the next 38 days? Mmmm? Or maybe not.

Listen to me. And listen to me good. You have a choice. Each day. Each moment.

That one hard thing

Think hard. Hasn’t there ever been anything hard you’ve done that required effort? Required diligence? Have you run a 5K? Have you painted a bedroom? Have you played in front of a crowd? What have you done that required work?

Because you could have stopped doing it. You could have walked to your car instead of to the 5K finish line where a banana and water was waiting for you. Some fashionable curtains could have tied together a two-tone bedroom. Nobody dragged you kicking and screaming to the stage with your clarinet.

You. Your choices did all these things in your life.  YOU.

So, I want you to think hard again. You’ve paved the connections in your brain between neurons for persistence by doing these hard things before in your life. Great job! Now is the moment to capitalize on your earlier successes. When it feels like you can’t say “No” to that food or that latte, remember that one hard thing you did. Feel the shoes on your feet, the concrete under your feet. And say, “I choose me, not food.” And run on.

Feel the paint brush in your hand, see the accidental paint spatters on the carpet, and say, “Sometimes I drop some paint, but I keep painting.” And paint on.

See the audience’s eyes on you, while you play your zombie-stiff clarinet song with racing heart. And say, “I choose to do this in front of the glares and stares of the world.” And play on.

You see, it is your choice. I promise you, nobody is going to grab that roll or those mashed potatoes and stuff them in your mouth. (Visualizing that, are you?)

But YOU might grab that roll and those mashed potatoes or that brownie this holiday season. YOU.

I can quit

Once, when I was having a hard time at pharmacy school personally, my volleyball coach looked at me and said, “Terri, you can go home. [Home and dear family support was six hours away.] Take a break.” I tried to argue with her. I couldn’t go home! I’d lose a whole semester of grades! A whole semester of money! No matter what I said, she told me it didn’t matter. I could go home. Finally, I realized, I could go home. I could quit whenever I wanted. And suddenly, I knew I had the fight in me. I knew I could pull myself up by my bootstraps, get my head wrapped on straight, and I could do this hard thing.

When I had to change the way I ate 4 years and five months  ago (I remember the date I dove in to 100% change), I did the same thing. I recognized my choice. MY CHOICE. I thought of all the hard things I’d done in my life, and I knew I could do this one.

I haven’t fought every food and nutrition battle you’ll have to fight. But I’ve fought a lot the last four years. Battles from myself. My tongue. My mom. My kids. My world. The TV. Gluten. Dairy. Eggs.

But I’ve run 5Ks, painted rooms, and I’ve played in piano recitals. I remember those things. When I am faced with food choices I know don’t benefit me, I recall those successes. I feel them. I smile at them. And most of the times, I move on just fine.

Move past the dribbles and play your song

Sometimes I don’t move on just fine. That’s probably most like painting. I never get the drop cloth spread out the way I should. I often think I don’t need the drop cloth. I’m just going to paint this one little touch-up. I won’t dribble. And I always do. Always do dribble. But seriously, who stops painting a whole room because they dribbled?

Today, while you’re shopping, looking at leftovers, visiting family. Next week, when the baked goods and cheap candy start rolling in (Gosh, wasn’t it just Halloween?). Thirty-eight days from now, remember it was YOUR choice.

Did you run? Did you dribble, yet keep painting? Did you play your song?

Eating right isn’t about now. It’s about hiking with your kids when they’re old enough to hike. It’s about that trip to Europe you’ve always dreamed after you retire. It’s about getting down on the floor to change your grandbaby’s diaper. It’s about writing that book with great mental clarity that comes from real food.

It’s about YOU.

And doing the hard thing. Each step of the way.

YOU CAN DO THIS. STARTING NOW.

Run. Paint. Play your song. You’ve done it before, and you can do it in this area too!

Happy Friday!

Terri

Photo attribution: By Tomwsulcer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Thanksgiving Recipe Adaptation Tips and Links

sweetcashewcream-1Are you struggling with any Thanksgiving recipe adaptations? Have an awesome adaptation discovery you’d love to share? Please stop by today’s post!

My greatest adaptation tip is that most of the time, I can substitute olive oil for butter—-in baked goods, for topping steamed vegetables, and in casseroles. Obviously this won’t work for something like caramel! Another tip I’d like to share is to not give up on a beloved recipe; there’s almost always a way to adapt it. I have kept all my old recipes and over the last few years, I’ve been slowly adapting them as I learn new cooking and baking techniques and supplies.

Okay. Let’s look at how to adapt most of those Thanksgiving favorites.

Mashed Potatoes: I use tons of good quality olive oil, some full-fat coconut milk, and salt and pepper.

Tips: Don’t use too much coconut milk or they’ll taste like coconut. I use about a 50/50 oil to coconut milk ratio (heavier on the olive oil, more scant on the coconut milk), and my family is good with that. If you do get more coconut flavor than you’d like, it can be countered by adding some garlic, rosemary, and/or chives.

Gravy: Arrowroot flour/powder is my go-to thickener now. It works but it is finicky like a princess’s cat. I suggest that you do NOT add it to boiling substances or you’ll get a snot consistency. And when you add it, whisk like your life depended on it. Tapioca starch/flour is similar in nature, and I treat it the same. I have noticed that performance does depend on the brand! My higher quality flours perform better.

Procedure: I use about 1 tablespoon of arrowroot for each cup of liquid. First, I make an arrowroot slurry by mixing the arrowroot in the smallest amount of lukewarm temperature water as possible (maybe a tablespoon for a tablespoon), and I set that aside. Next, I bring my gravy broth to a boil, shut off the heat, move the pan over off the burner, THEN add the arrowroot slurry, whisking like crazy.

Green Bean Casserole: For this one, I make my own onion rings, dipping onions in a gluten-free flour and then frying them, and I make a homemade mushroom soup. It’s a lengthy process but my family loves it so much. Here is my recipe. I like it better than other ones I’ve seen out there because the onion rings are closest to the ones I remember from the can.

Cranberry Gelatin Salad: In place of Jello, I use plain gelatin and juice to make my own gelatin. I use maple syrup or honey instead of sugar. Everything else is just the same as the recipe has been handed down through the generations. Here is my recipe.

Corn Casserole: I haven’t adapted this one to reach the near 100% whole food mark yet, but I’ve adapted it for gluten-free, dairy-free. Everyone’s favorite family recipe is a little different, but you can find gluten-free, dairy-free cornbread mixes at the store. There are gluten-free, dairy-free brands of canned cream corn you can use. Use olive oil in place of butter. If your recipe calls for sour cream, you could try making some cashew cream as a substitute. (But plan ahead, you have to find raw cashews and soak them for several hours.) Have you perfected this adaptation?

Pecan Pie: Easily adaptable. I use olive oil in place of butter, maple syrup in place of corn syrup and brown sugar, and arrowroot in place of flour for thickening. Here is my recipe.

Pumpkin Pie: Another easily adaptable pie. I use maple syrup in place of sugar and any dairy-free milk for the milk.

Coconut cream, banana cream, and peanut butter cream pies: I’ve had success with adapting these using alternative milks (coconut cream is best for the consistency as it has the most fat) and arrowroot in place of flour.

Pie Crust: There are very pleasant gluten-free, dairy-free pie crusts available frozen in the store. My daughter makes her own crust using Bob’s Red Mill (I believe any gluten-free flour combination will work. We have tried just using arrowroot for this recipe. But it got stringy, so best to make it with a “combination” gluten-free mix.) I believe I also featured this recipe in my pecan pie post.

Granny’s Adapted Pinch Pie Crust:

  • 1 cup of gluten-free flour (tested with Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 3 Tablespoons milk of choice
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Follow these directions very closely. It’s not hard, but the wording is confusing!

In a 1/2 cup measuring cup, put in 3 tablespoons of milk and then fill, IN THE SAME 1/2 cup measuring cup with the milk still in it, up to the 1/2 cup mark with olive oil.

Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Whisk together to immerse. Add the flour and mix well. Use your hands to knead gently and briefly.

Push into the pie pan.  We do this by forming about 8 or so little balls and placing them around the pan. Then, we push them together, up the side of the pan, and a little bit over the lip of the pan Next, we use our fingers to flute the edge.

Use as directed in your recipe.

Sweet Potato Casserole: We make the kind with the pecans and glaze on top. It is so good. Here is my recipe. However, there are some marshmallows you can buy now that don’t use any food coloring, if you need to do the marshmallow topping.

Whipped cream: I make a sweetened cashew cream. I haven’t posted the recipe yet on the blog, so I can’t link to it. But it’s very similar to the ones that are out there on the internet if you care to Google it. Or ask below, and I’ll type it in the comments for you.

Stuffing/dressing: I don’t have this one adapted yet. My family doesn’t miss it too much. But there are some great recipes out there. Do you have one?

Need to be egg-free? Following an auto-immune diet? Lastly, I highly recommend The Curious Coconut and her autoimmune recipes for more rigid food restrictions. I don’t know her at all. But I have purchased her holiday e-cookbook and it is amazing! I recommend trying some of the recipes ahead of time because they’re a little tricky and can give unexpected results! We have made a couple of the dinner rolls, and they looked so cute in her photos…

What questions do you have about adapting recipes? Are you stuck on one? Are you scared to try? Do you have an AWESOME one you’d love to share?

Choose food that doesn’t make you sick and doesn’t make you overeat. Best wishes. Happy Thanksgiving!

Terri