Thursday, June 20, 2013

Elimination Diet - The Second Go Around

If you want to read about the first time I did this elimination diet and why I did, you can read my posts here and here.

My reasons this time around are very similar. I knew that having a 4th baby would be very taxing on my body and I'd need to do some healing afterward. Little did I know how much healing. At the end of January, when Judah was just a little over a month old I ended up with gallstones. Holy Cow, those are no fun! I spend a full day traveling in some of the most incredible pain ever. If we weren't trying to get home, and if we didn't have all 4 kids with us, including a tiny baby, there are about 3 different times that day I would have gone to the ER. I pushed through and decided to see my PCP the next day. By that time, even water was triggering attacks. I was miserable. After cutting out fats I got better, but my body was now WAY overtaxed between being barely postpartum and now having gallstones. My adrenals basically jumped ship. So what's a girl to do?

I decided it was time for another elimination diet! Yay!!!

So here's the basic overview - for 4 weeks you cut out gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, eggs, pork, peanuts, shellfish, alcohol, coffee, and sometimes nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, paprika[this is if you have symptoms of inflammation such as arthritis, which I do). Then you gradually start adding it all back in. The basic purpose is to cleanse your body to then see if anything triggers any symptoms. I use it more as a cleanse/whole food template to help heal my adrenals. I know many people who use it to figure out why they're having migraines and other things like that.

I found this time around to be a lot easier than last time. Because I knew what to expect, I attacked pinterest for ideas of things I could eat. In the beginning I was thinking I'd take all these great pictures of all my awesome creations.....and yeah, that just didn't happen. I did have a lot of fun coming up with new creations and trying new things, though. Here are some of them:

For breakfast I was pretty boring. The nutritionist I saw who was basically just there for accountability, really wanted me to not have any fruit first thing in the morning. She'd been really delving into adrenal fatigue a lot and there was a lot of research that says stay away from it so you have a better start to your day. I tried puffed rice cereal with coconut milk, but it only "lasted" about an hour and I was hungry again. So I ended up doing oatmeal with a touch of agave and walnuts pretty much every day.

For lunch my main standby was a chicken salad sandwich. I'm not very good with measurements, as I just kinda throw a little of this, and a little of that in, but here's the basic "recipe":
4 chicken breasts seasoned, cooked, and shredded
3/4 cup (ish) of soy free veganaise
a squirt of flax seed oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chia seeds
salt and pepper to taste
2 stalks of celery, cut up
handful of dried cranberries

Mix the veganaise, oils, lemon juice, chia seeds and salt and pepper in a bowl until combined. Add chicken, celery, and cranberries and mix until well combined. Enjoy as a sandwich or salad.

For a sandwich I use Vegan Oat Bread from a local gluten free bakery named Out of the Breadbox. It's so good! I add a couple leaves of lettuce and voila, a yummy sandwich! Sometimes I added some avocado as well. For a salad I would put a couple scoops on some lettuce that I had dressed with just a little oil and balsamic vinegar. 2 yummy lunch options in one!

I also became pretty good at making a "big salad" (which always reminds me of Seinfeld, ha!). My favorite had baby greens, sliced carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, and celery, sesame or pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, 1/2 a sliced chicken breast, and a homemade vinaigrette of 1 part balsamic vinegar, 1 part pomegranate red wine vinegar, 2 parts olive oil, a squirt of flax seed oil, and a pinch of pepper.

Ok, well this post is long enough I think. I'll post some dinner, snack, and dessert ideas in another post, as well as how I'm doing now that I'm adding things back in. If you have any questions, ask away and I'll try to answer them as soon as possible!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Birth of Judah Gregory

My pregnancy with Judah was a tough one. I had severe morning sickness until 26 weeks (as in not HG, but still lost 15 lbs before starting medication and throwing up about 3-5x/day most days). I had strep, 2 sinus infections, a respiratory infection, and a couple of colds to top it off. I had a ton of relaxin which made it so I was in a lot of pain in my pelvis the last couple of months, almost not being able to walk at times. And I had bad sinus issues causing lots of bad headaches. Most likely some of this was because of too many hormones due to a miscarriage literally 2 weeks before I got pregnant again. Needless to say, I was so happy to see my due date (Tuesday, December 18th) approaching so I could have this baby and start healing from this pregnancy.

The question was, WHEN would I have this baby?

Mika was born at 41 weeks (although through emergency induction/c-section, so we don't know when she would have come on her own)

Urijah came at 39 weeks 6 days.

Ezekiah came at 42 weeks 2 days.

So I have a big range of what is normal for me! At first I was telling people "Christmas" as a "due time" so I wouldn't get myself too excited about when he could come. Then around 30 weeks I had some weird contractions and we discovered I was already slightly dilated. Suddenly it was "let's get to at least 37 weeks, hopefully your due date!" We were still a little wary, knowing I could go past, but I know I was hoping he'd come just a little early.

My labor pattern with my last 2 births involved 2-3 days of prodromal labor. That's a nasty word for lots of contractions that drive you nuts but don't mean you're in labor. Then a "shift" happens, and I'm in active labor. With Urijah I had a baby 10 hours after the shift, with Ezekiah, 2 hours after!

Sure enough, when I was 39 weeks I started having the prodromal stuff. Each day the contractions would get a little worse and a little worse. Thursday I saw my chiropractor. Friday Zarik and I saw our awesome midwife, Desirre, then went to see the Hobbit - one last date we were hoping! - then met up with my sister and brother in law, my mom, and our kiddos for dinner at the Outback. I'd been craving it so bad!

Saturday, at midnight, I threw all that up. I had a bunch of contractions for about an hour that scared me because usually for me throwing up means transition. I decided to try to sleep and they spaced back out to every 20 minutes or so, but I woke up with each one. All of Saturday was pretty much like this. I got to the point about halfway through the day where I needed help through them and either Zarik or my mom would do counter pressure on my lower back through them. We spent the day at home. I tried baking (pumpkin cupcakes and eggnog cupcakes!), napping, waking up and down the stairs, and other little things, but it was hard contracting so much. By the kids bedtime I was exhausted, frustrated, and in pain. Baby started literally rotating his head around in my pelvis, back and forth, and it did NOT feel good at ALL! I called Desirre to check in, did some knee-chest and pelvic rocks to try to get baby in a better position, then had a small glass of wine and went to bed.

I slept in 20-30 minute intervals between contractions, and then at 1am on the 16th, I got up to go to the bathroom and take a shower. I started feeling completely out of control. Zarik got up and helped me through some contractions and I finally looked at him and said "Call the birth team or take me to the hospital. I can't do this anymore". Wise man that he is, he called the birth team. As they got there it calmed me enough so that I wasn't yelling at them all to take me to the hospital. These were the contractions from HELL. This was my third natural birth, second homebirth, and I couldn't believe how much pain I was in. I've never felt anything like them and hope to never again! My doula, Kim, was amazing and with little cues from both her and Desirre I made it through another hours worth of contractions without losing it. I was sitting on the ball leaning on Kim for that hour. Inside I felt completely out of control. Zarik was going back and forth between helping Desirre, another midwife and an assistant set up the pool and helping me through contractions with Kim. Both Kim and Desirre commented later on how calm I seemed. I was amazed I came off that way because inside I was FREAKING OUT!!

It started feeling better to bare down a little with them, so I did. I was a little worried it was too early, but was told to go with it, so I did. Suddenly with one I gave a full on push! I felt baby move down, but was unsure it had really just happened because I though I was probably just a 6 or 8 or something! I had one more contraction that that happened again, and I peed a little, so I figured I'd better go to the bathroom, and maybe then I could get in the pool. I stand up and we see a little bloody show, yay! I guess at this point the midwives decided to go down to our living room to give us some space to labor in.

I get in the bathroom and sit down backwards to pee and another contraction started. I almost freaked out because I didn't have the safety of Kim's shoulder, and just started baring down. Wait, baring down? No, this is pushing!!! At this point I was pretty much having an out of body experience. When I started pushing the midwives heard and ran back up. Des checked me, felt the head and yelled "Zarik, if you wanna catch this baby you'd better come now!" He ran into our (very tiny) bathroom too, and got into position right as I pushed the head out. With his head my water broke and Zarik got "baptized" in it, haha! One more push and baby was in his hands. I was in such shock that I just stood there breathing for a minute. Then we did a pass through and I sat on the toilet holding Judah while they finished getting the bed ready. He was born at 3:56 am.

While all that was going on I was having a gazillion thoughts run through my head. Basically for me this is how those 2 minutes (or less) went:
Pushing? Isn't it too early to push? Can I push? Is that the ring of fire? It can't be! Des is here. I need to stand up. She's checking for a HEAD?? IT'S RIGHT THERE??!! I guess I can push then! Ring of firrrrrreeeee! Head's out! This is the first time a baby didn't come out all at once. One more. He's OUT!! Wait. He's out? Already? Seriously? Did that just happen? You mean it's all over? Oh my gosh, it's all over! Did that REALLY just happen?

I vaguely noticed that my photographer had hopped up on our bathroom counter, and was amazed so many people were in the bathroom with us. When we got to the bed I realized Zarik was changing clothes and was told he'd gotten the full blast of my water breaking, haha! I was still kinda in shock and couldn't believe it was over. Judah was definitely letting us know that he didn't like coming out that fast too! Desirre put a little Rescue Remedy on his temples and he calmed down in just a couple minutes and was able to latch on and nurse after that. Mika woke up just a few minutes after he was born and she and Zarik came to cuddle with Judah and I. I think it took about 15 minutes for my placenta to come, and I was shaking because of the adrenaline and because it was just a little chilly at 4 am! While Desirre and the other midwife, Sharon watched over me, everyone else was taking the tub back down and starting to clean up. I ended up having just a small tear on my perineum, right where I'd torn with the other two boys, so no big deal. Just need to keep my legs together for a couple weeks as much as possible.

About 45ish minutes after the birth I got cleaned up while my mom held Judah, then we did the newborn assessment. My mom got to cut the cord this time! She loved it. Little Judah weighted in at 6lbs1oz, was 19 inches long, and had a 13 inch head. I thanked him for not having as big a head as Eze, haha (who had a 14 inch head)! Speaking of, he woke up around 6, as everyone was wrapping up, and got to meet his little brother before Grandma took him and Mika downstairs while Zarik, Judah and I snuggled in to sleep.

I do have to say, that after this birth, I am very glad that we are done! It is definitely the right decision and our family is finally complete. Zarik always joked that I really didn't want another baby, just another birth, and after this birth I can honestly say I don't want to do that again! Even after Eze, when he was just a couple weeks old I was wanting to do it again, so this is my sign that we are done, ha! Welcome Judah! We are very glad you are here! And very glad you came before your due date! ;-)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October So Far

Ezekiah did a cartwheel off our porch steps

Urijah decided to try his hand at photography

We had our first snowfall!

Little Eskimos

Zarik and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary and actually got to go out to dinner (double amazing was that I found something I could eat on the elimination diet at our favorite restaurant, Danny's Corner Bistro!!)

And we made our own cheese crackers. So yummy! This is going to be a regular activity in our house for sure.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

One Cleanse Down

So I finished my Isagenix Cleanse (detailed here) At the end of September. October 1st I started a "Comprehensive Elimination Diet" that my awesome Dr has put together. More on that later. First, the Cleanse:

I was surprised how ease I found it. Except for the last week. My 2nd to last cleanse day found me sick with a cold, so I decided it wasn't wise to continue as a cleanse day, and instead just had chicken soup all day. Then I struggled to find another day to fit that cleanse in, so it just didn't happen. That was the week I was on a jury, so yeah. Not the easiest week to stay on track. I was proud of myself, considering everything, though. On the last day, I measured and weighed myself to see the difference. Here are my results: (Oh, and I'm not going to tell you my actual weight and measurements, ha. Just how many pound and inches I lost.)

Weight - 10lbs lost (YEAH!)
Neck - 2" lost
Upper Arms - 1" lost on each arm
Chest/Bust - 4" lost
Diaphragm - 2.5" lost
Waist - 7" lost!!!! (I was most shocked and excited by this!)
Abdomen - 3" lost
Buttocks - 2" lost
Upper Thigh - 1.5" lost on each leg

All in all I was really excited. Although for me weight loss is a secondary thing right now, I know it's a byproduct of all I am doing. I was really nervous I'd get to the end and there'd be no outward change, though. I was scared my body was broken for good. This really gave me a boost of confidence.

So now we're onto this Elimination Diet. It's kinda the opposite side of weight loss from the Cleanse. In the Cleanse I wasn't restricted (beyond sugar and drinking anything but water) in WHAT I ate (although they encouraged you to eat "healthy"), but I was restricted in HOW MUCH (calories). The Elimination Diet is restricted heavily in WHAT you can eat, but NOT in HOW MUCH, or calories.

So here are the things I'm avoiding: Citrus, Dairy, Eggs, Gluten (ie wheat), Corn, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Egg Plants, Peppers, Pork, Beef, Processed Meats (ie hotdogs, coldcuts, even though I can have turkey), Shellfish, Soy products, Peanuts, Butter, Margarine, Processed Oils, (ie most condiments), Alcohol, Caffeine, Coffee (even Decaf), Soft drinks (even caffeine free, sugar free ones), Sugar (brown or white), honey, maple syrup, HFCS, cane juice.

Amazingly, I'm 8 days in and not starving! The nutritionist that works with Dr. J gave me an awesome 1 week menu of ideas that has helped a LOT. And the way we eat (multiple small meals through the day, almost like snacks) I still haven't gone through a lot of the recipes. I'm looking forward to trying a lot of them. Here's a couple pictures of things that are helping me through this:

This is my breakfast most mornings - A protein smoothie: Mixed Berries, Chocolate Pea Protein Powder, Coconut Milk, and Flax Oil.

This was a yummy Applesauce Bread. The kids LOVED it, ha! They ate the majority of it. I liked it with a little Apple Butter or Pear Butter spread on top.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Colors of Fall

I love fall. I love taking drives with my family. I love Colorado. I love combining the three of these things. Coming from a place where there weren't really any deciduous trees at all, I absolutely LOVE taking drives with my family in Colorado in the fall. Aspens are so amazing this time of year! I love watching as Pikes Peak's lower half starts looking like it's on fire. Everywhere you look there are splashes of color among the dark green Pines. When I was driving to Cripple Creek for jury duty a couple of weeks ago the leaves had just started to turn, so the following week I convinced Zarik that we should go out that way and take a drive. I'd also found a cool scenic drive website that gave us a great idea of a route to take. Here's a glimpse as to what we get to enjoy every fall.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

God is in Everything - Even Jury Duty

This last week I had Jury Duty. Honestly, I didn't really think I would be picked, even if I had to go the one day. The day of I was driving there (we have to go to Cripple Creek, which is about 45 minutes down a wind-y road), listening to worship music and really just having an awesome time with the Lord. After getting there, signing in, and watching the "orientation" video, we were given assigned seats. Well, mine was front and center. And from my previous experience, I know they pick the jury in order of seating. Sure 'nough, after a long, boring morning (Thank God they let me bring my crochet in! It kept my ADD hands nicely occupied!), a nice lunch, and another hour or so, I was put up in the jury box.

It was a civil case, so there were 7 of us (6, plus one alternate). 4 women, 3 men, and I was the youngest by at least 15 years. I'm guessing I was for sure a defense pick because I was younger, in jeans and a t-shirt, multiple piercings, and a Christian. But I was just safe enough that the prosecutor didn't mind me there (mom of 3 who crochets). The case was a rancher in his 70's who was hauling cattle for auction and had stopped by the side of the road when a young guy (I took him for about 25) reached down for a cigarette, veered to the right striking the cattle trailer, and possibly clipped the rancher who was at his driver side door. The reason I say I was a defense pick was the young man was young (yes I know that's redundant, ha), had multiple piercings, is in a band, and plays on his Church's Worship Team.

As the week went on I got to know the other 2 women who were on the base part of the jury (the 4th was our alternate). One of them was a new Moppets teacher in my MOPS group that I just didn't get to meet in the chaos of our first week (in fact, she's Mika's teacher for this year). They were both amazing Christian women and we had some great discussions. The first night of the trial, I had a dream where the light of the Holy Spirit was shining down on me and two other jurors (the other women) and the peace of God was on the defendant. I kept praying into that, wondering how this was going to play out. Unknown to me, one of the other women was also having similar dreams during the trial. On the second day, there was a witness by video that I really wasn't comfortable with. The Lord was really speaking to me about that and how to pray for that guy on the drive home that day.

While most civil cases here take about 3 days, this one ended up going 4 very full days. The prosecutor was taking his sweet time with all the witnesses and really painting a picture of this poor old man whose dreams were crushed because he was injured so badly 3 years ago in this accident. Despite that, I really didn't have a peace about just awarding him all these damages. They were asking for almost $400,000. When we finally got to the Jury room and got to deliberate, it was amazing for me. Not a single other juror was convinced he was actually hit or even tapped by the car or that any resulting injuries would have caused the long term issues he was dealing with. So all we were comfortable doing was giving him 3 months worth of ranch help and 50% of the medical bills for that time. So we awarded him about $6,500. And here in his closing statements the defense was begging us to just not go over $25,000!

The only way I can account for all of our hesitation and unity is the Holy Spirit. This whole experience proved to me once again something I should know without hesitation by now: God is in EVERYTHING - even Jury Duty.

Oh, and I got myself a reward for going through this week. It's something I've been wanting for a while now - Whaddaya think? :-)

Hint: it's the bottom one.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Quest to Find My Healthy Self

The last few years have been really tough on my body. Namely because I had 3 babies in 3 years. After Mika and Urijah my body seemed to react fine: I lost all but 10lbs pretty quickly and after I quit breastfeeding I lost half of that, so I was only left with 5 extra pounds that didn't go away before I found myself pregnant again. Ezekiah's pregnancy was a little different. First, I didn't have my normal weight loss at the beginning because I was able to manage my morning sickness better than I had with the older 2. Second, I had low progesterone and spotting in the beginning which made me scared to death I was going to miscarry again. Third, near the end of the pregnancy I ended up with PTSD caused by my previous miscarriages and fear of the problems that led to Mika's C-section possibly repeating (there was never an indication of this, but it's a fear that has followed me into the end of each of my pregnancies). Fourth, the little bugger decided to stay in until 42 weeks and 2 days. After he was born, I didn't lose a pound. Not even his body weight! Everyone told me to take it easy on myself. I was breastfeeding and since I've always had supply issues I couldn't risk going gung-ho on my weight and killing my supply. Then after I stopped breastfeeding (This past June), to my horror I gained 10lbs in one month and 5lbs the following month. WTH was going on here????

I called up my PCP and we started trying to figure out what was going on. Both he and my chiropractor came to the conclusion that my adrenals were completely exhausted and I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. Because light is just really being shed on adrenal fatigue, there is a lot of conflicting or wishy-washy information out there about it. Most of the websites I've found (except for this one) make it sound like a fake I've-just-been-overworked excuse. However if you look at the function of the adrenals, you see that they control hormones. What led to my diagnosis was that I've been having typical signs of hormone and thyroid issues, but all my tests were coming back normal. So something wasn't right. Our theory is that my body had too much stress over the last few years with my pregnancies and breastfeeding and the fact that I'm a single mom almost half the month. My adrenals were on overdrive for so long they finally couldn't keep up. So my body went into lock-down/survival mode by lowering my metabolism and screwing with my hormones. According to my doctor, the things that help to heal this are sleep/rest, exercise, and no caffeine/sugar.

I was miserable. I hated the way I felt, the way I looked, how tired I was. I found myself in a deep depression. I was desperate to find my previous healthy self. First of all, I cut out caffeine (waahhhhhh!). Then, my chiropractor and doctor had a few different options they presented to me. The 2 that appealed to me the most were Isagenix and an Elimination Diet. Because of the place I was in mentally I decided to start with a 30 day cleanse. Here's why: 1)I've heard of the Isagenix products before. I trust them, although I don't like their business perspectives and think they're pretty overpriced. 2)I knew I needed something that was stupid simple to do and completely laid out for me. 3)I wanted the month to prepare for my Elimination Diet, but wanted to start doing SOMETHING. The Elimination Diet is a program put together by my doctor. You eliminate a ton of foods that can cause common issues: Gluten, most meat, shellfish, soy, peanuts (no other nuts), dairy (including butter), sugars, and a few select veggies specific to me (corn, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and pepper). These are basically to see if there are reactions I am having to any of these. If I gain more energy on the diet and then adding in, for example, milk makes me feel sluggish or makes me break out, etc, then we know I have a problem with it.

Now I feel it is important to say this: I know there are many types of products, cleanses, diets, etc. out there. It seems that everyone has the "best" one that everyone else should use and nothing else compares and you're doing yourself a huge disservice if you use anything else. (note* This is a huge reason I can't give my full support to Isagenix even though I do think they have a great product. Their consultants can get downright degrading) However, after looking at quite a few of them, I decided this was right for me right now. Maybe one day I'll do a juice cleanse. Maybe one day I'll try P90X. I probably won't buy protein from a specific company because my hubby is a genius with finding cheap ways to get us amazing products that just don't have name brands stamped on them. So please, don't read all this just to tell me that I should really be doing it "your way". This is one reason I've stayed away from mentioning much about this on facebook.

Today is day 21 of my 30 day cleanse. I'm actually taking a break today because I've come down with a bad cold and today was supposed to be a cleanse day (vs a shake day). But I'm still just going to eat small, healthy portions of chicken (some soup, some breast) and veggies today to try to kick this thing. Zarik and I can both see a huge difference in my body and energy levels already. I still struggle to exercise, (that's a whole other post) but I've really been trying to do 20 minutes of SOMETHING a day, be it walking, the gym, a Wii game I love called ExerBeat, or taking the kids to the park and running around with them. To help with my nighttime snacking addiction I've been knitting or crocheting, which has been fun to learn.

WHEW. It feels good to be able to share this. I've been keeping in close to me, but longing to share what I'm doing. It's been easier than I thought, but I know I can't do this alone. Thanks for coming along on this journey with me.