Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Quest Against Chronic Disease

Interestingly, we are a society that is going to be taken down (as we are already) by chronic disease.  I was thinking a lot about this last night and was filled with anxiety.  For myself, my children, my husband, and everyone.  Anxiety is not worry as much as a feeling of a need to do something about it!!

We look out in to the world and see people struggling with obesity and mental illness.  People are often sick with this virus or that.  They are tired.  Stressed.  Unhappy.

While I think this is because we are not letting our faith guide our lives, I would say it specifically has a ton to do with what we are consuming and the demands we place on ourselves to be busy, productive, profitable, competative, etc.

As I become wholistically healthier, I  want nothing more than to please God by helping other people.

Why should I suffer alone?  I do not have to.  I can share what I learn and I find true joy in knowing other people can take a bit here and there.

You can find encouragement here.

I am not the most knowledgable.  I do not have a nutrition degree or even classes in biology.  I did not appreciate it.  But now that I understand it is applied to how we think and feel (physically and emotionally), I am hooked.

I am very passionate about health and I constantly crave to know more.

Joe tells me I am a rare person though in that I will adjust my life to what I know needs to be done.  This is hard for me to wrap my head around.  But, being healthy is very hard when we are in a cycle of unhealthy behaviors.

I have been there, I know that.  What if I told you that if I can do it, you can too?

We each have our own way.  I respect that.  So, as my anxiety built last night, I knew I could not blog for a day or so until I settled down.  I am learning to take time to let my feelings ride the wave, then assess where I am at and what I want to tell other people.

So, in thinking about all of this, I know what I need to do in order to be healthy, and what works for me.

Here is what I know I need to do every day:

1. Wake up after a night of 7-8 hours of sleep.  Take my liver and gallbladder supplements with at least 2 cups of water.  If I am going to exercise I take l-carnatine.
2. Work out if I am going to (usually 5 times a week).  I am now training for a half-marathon I signed up for but I am also adding in strength building since the new year, and I am pleased with 2 days of legs and 2 days of arms/chest - about 10 minutes only. If you have to choose and struggle with your weight, go with the strength training!
3.  If I do not work out I make grain-free waffles for the week.  Nearly every morning I make eggs for the boys.  I try to get Evan to eat 3 before he heads off to school.  Calvin loves the waffles and eggs!  I do, too!
4. If I work out I take glutamine (Glutagenics), probiotic, and CoQ-10 right after and wait 30-60 minutes to eat.
5. Breakfast consists of 4 eggs.  Yes, 4 (we go through a lot of eggs).  You may remember I cut eggs out because they were high on my food sensitivity testing last year.  I added them in as I began to heal my GI system.  My doctor said it is not as much about what we are sensitive to as is about the fact we have a compromised system.  You actually get holes in your digestive tissue, which allows food particles to pass through into your blood stream (leaky gut).  Not good for your immune system!
6.  Breakfast may consist of the flax waffles mentioned in number 3, or Qi'a (unsweetend chia seed "cereal" - very yummy).  I may now and then have oatmeal.  Not much though, once a month or when in a hurry.  I only consume 1 serving of grains now and then.  I also started making my own grain free cereal (Maria Emmerich recipe).  It is yummy but my stomach does not do too well with it - hard to digest the almond meal still.  Very healthy though!  We are not going to buy cereal anymore unless we need to or it is a special treat.
7. Lunch and dinner - grain and added sugar free.  Pasta?  I currently shred cabbage and have miracle noodles but I'm going to figure out zucchini pasta as well!  Lots of veggies and 5 servings of quality protein every day!  Lots of water!
8. No eating past 7pm - 6:30 is better.  Why?  Because our bodies have been ingesting and digesting food all day, now it is time to absorb the nutrients and let our bodies kick in the hormones and neurotransmitters responsible for this.  This is huge for weight management!  Eating too close to sleep inhibits our human growth hormone (HGH) and we will store fat.  Insulin inhibits the HGH.  Boosting HGH levels means more muscle, less fat, and efficient metabolism (chemical process to maintain life, not burn calories).  The next morning we should eliminate our waste - every day!  Some doctors say it is okay not to go every day.  I am learning a lot about that not being okay.  You are susceptible to absorbing chemicals you need to get out of your body (like too much estrogens).  Try magnesium citrate to help :)
9.  Before I go to bed I take my liver and gallbladder supplements and also magnesium citrate.

I have read a bit about everyone being recommended to take magnesium: citrate if you have constipation issues, glycinate if not (nearly 600mg per day).  For every molecule of carbohydrates we consume, we consume 56 molecules of magnesium!  Wow.  Anyways, take time to learn about magnesium :)  And sugar consumption.  Click Here

Normal blood sugar?  1 tsp of sugar in your/our/my blood.  4 grams of carbohydrates becomes 1 tsp of sugar in your blood!  Take time to look at the carbohydrates on your labels.

Well, I have rattled on enough for one evening.  Want some ice cream at 6pm?  Try that coconut milk ice cream, sweetened with chicory root :)  I mention that in the previous post :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

ENT, Dynamite!

(Still the best of buds, Nolie and Calvie, with similar hair styles too - Nolan has a cowlick so his bangs never appear to grow and Calvin moved around A LOT when I cut his hair last weekend!)

Calvin is doing so so well!  I am so grateful to God for this.  God is for sure the one in control of that.  I do think God has given me the ability to be very open-minded and motivated to get the best possible set up for him.  And, I have my own personality, so I am definitely motivated by the things I find important and interesting AND possible for our family.  What I mean is I have always been fairly focused on Calvin's nutritional health.  This seems to be my main focus with him.  I teach him as well but I sort of let that go naturally, like with the other boys.  I wish I spent more time teaching him or was specific with his play.  BUT, I do not.  I didn't with Nolan as much either.  Evan?  Yes, I did a lot of 'teaching'.  I could.  I had one child :)  Honestly, I get bored sitting and just teaching over and over.  I'd rather move and cook and, yes, eat :)

So, now I am spending a great deal of time in the kitchen.  Something I envisioned for my time as home vs. time at school was to be able to have a greater impact on Calvin's nutritional health, and hopefully his physical and mental health would naturally follow suit.

I am happy to say, though winter and his childhood, and well, his life, are far from over, looking back I am very pleased with how Calvin has weather the storms of illness this season!

I will start with now and go backwards and connect the dots of my thoughts here....

On Tuesday I brought Calvin to the ENT for a follow-up to his April ('11) adenoid removal and ear tube replacement.

I had suspected the outcome, to an extent.  Calvin did very well with the audiologist and we noticed he did not respond to the left as well as the right BUT he fell within normal range of hearing (and was perfectly behaved might I say?).  So, I said I suspected something was up with that tube because when he had drainage last fall it was only out of his right ear.

And?  Yes, his left tube was pushed out and he has some scar tissue where it was (not thrilled about that part but is normal with tubes).  His right tube is in and just a bit blocked with ear wax - nothing warranted further work on Tuesday.  His left ear does not have fluid behind it so unless he were to have problems, it will stay as it is.  Great news for Calvin :)  Going back in 6 months.

Okay, going back: Around Christmas Calvin had a couple of colds.  He healed so quick and normal!  I am pleasantly surprised to be honest.  Nothing like last year (and I have some ideas as to why that I'll share next).  Calvin had a fever like his brothers and healed just as quickly as them.  Even with relatives with influenza, the boys each did well and did not seem to either get it or did and just got through it quickly.

Part of that could be using the amber teething necklaces (which are said to help immune systems as well), the use of muco coccinum (homeopathic influenza support), and Calvin's diet.  I have been learning more and more about the connection between what we eat and how we feel.

My naturopathic doctor and Maria Emmerich have been my main resources these days.  I have nearly completely cut out added sugars and grains in my and Calvin's diet.  I did this back in September but in a restrictive-diet sort of way.  Now I just changed what we eat (ex. Miracle Noodles vs wheat or rice pasta). I am slowly working on it with my other boys as well.  I made grain free cereal yesterday and we are rarely going to be buying cereal, for example.

I think I could blog all about sugar but the fact is there are books on it which means there is that much information.  I am slowly working my way through learning about it and simply put, the average American diet consists of WAY TOO much sugar.  For Calvin I no longer say he is gluten free.  He is grain free, or nearly.  He does get some processed starchy foods, Veggie Straws, on a limited basis and I know it is not healthy but I am also realistic about balancing out life with diet.  I plan.  Planning his meals is soooo important.

(By the way, I am talking about sugar, but that is not the only health change we have made.  I mainly cook with coconut oil now.  No more damaged oils.  Simple and healthy ingredients.  And, I look at labels for sugars (corn, fake, or added) and oils and soy - trying to limit as much of that as possible)

Sugar promotes many illnesses, including inflammation.  So, I strongly believe cutting out sugars and grains in Calvin's diet has helped him fight viruses this season and not allow them to develop into bacterial inflammation (like ear infections or lung infections).

The fact is Calvin has a harder time with his already compromised immune system.  I will do anything to keep his diet in check so he can be healthy and learning.  And, seeing as he is up to nearly 30 signs and continues to learn new ones, I will take this all as an indicator that what I am doing with and for him is working.  I will not minimize symptoms in his life.  He cannot afford any road-blocks.

Calvin continues to take his Nutrivene vitamins and probiotics.  He has a healthy business going on in his diaper - another sign that his diet is suitable for his needs.

I am slowly trying dairy now and then.  He does have some reflux/spit up but not as much or as long.  However, to me, any amount is a sign it is still an issue.  No worries.  We are well beyond adjusting for this lifestyle.  It adds some work but nothing that is any issue, especially now that I am home.

If anyone wants to learn more about a healthier lifestyle, I'd recommend checking out Maria Emmerich.   It is amazing how our agriculture drives our very inaccurate food pyramid.  There is a lot of research and sound science to support what I am doing for Calvin.  It is not to be rebellious or different.  Doing this creates stress in my life.  I would not do this if I did not feel strongly about the reasons I do what I do.

Calvin and I eat waffles and other treats.  I can eat pizza and cheese cake and the number of carbohydrates is very low!  Not only that, sugars such as Just Like Sugar and Swerve are low on the glycemic index and do have positive impacts on our health (ex. chicory root found in Just Like Sugar helps GI issues, Swerve as prebiotic properties).   Check them out!  Swerve is very yummy, no aftertaste and used just as sugar (1:1 ratio).

I also have been healthy and continue to nurse my GI issues.  Healing takes time and patience and knowledge.  I believe it also takes an open mind, motivation, and resources.  I am grateful to God for equipping me with an open mind and a patient, motivated personality.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Moving Mountains

A dear woman, who likely will read this, has shared a bit about what having a child with Down syndrome means in her country.  Here are her words and out of deep respect to her I have left out names and anything personal except her country (because of her last paragraph):

In Indonesia, having a special children is viewed as one of these :

1. You're cursed. You've done something wrong, you (and your family) doomed for the rest of your life. That is because, there is absolutely no bright future supported by our government! I've heard that in German, every company that hires a minimum of 50 people, HAVE to hire one Down Syndrome person. While here? It's good if you're keeping and taking care of your Down Syndrome child. Period.

2. You have to be very-very rich. We have to pay for our own standard fisiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Goverment workers do have insurance to pay for such therapy, but to get into the hospital that accept it's insurance... you'll need to wait in line for 3 months first...

That's why, everything I do, I need to know tons of it. So that I can be 100% sure what I'm doing, and 100% sure spending my money on what and evaluating the result. That's why I'm so glad I found this babycenter forum. Loads and loads of information! And loads and loads of helpful mothers! God bless you all :)

I've message someone thinking of adopting children. You guys adopting children from Russia, Serbia, etc.! I'm trying to put attention to Indonesia... Lots and lots of babies are being thrown away because they have a little extra. They'll got better future if someone takes them over there. Not my ____, of course... eventhough I cannot provide the things you guys can give, at least he got me... but there's lots of babies not as fortunate as my ______...

This is a woman who I believe God is moving mountains.

I hope to help her in anyway I can.  That is all I can do.  Maybe this post will be worth something more than regards to my own feelings.  Sometimes I just think I fail to remember there are much bigger things than me.  I hate that about myself.  I hate that I allow myself to focus on anything except God and His people.

That is what is good about blogging, for me.  I can use it to get out of my own head.  I can do that, I'm not saying I have been.  Goodness!  So, focusing back to what matters: people.  And, I still want the world to know people with Ds are worthy of our praise.  If everyone could feel a hug from a 2 year old with Down syndrome you'd know it is like nothing else.  I have been trying to put words to it.  Is it Calvin, or is it me: The fact that I have allowed myself to love this child I once thought doomed the rest of my life?  I need to get back to focusing on the space beyond me.  Is my life more important than any one else's?  It is not.