Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wellness Wednesday #3

Hello Everyone,

First the dreaded weight check in. I am at a stand still. Still 325#. However, that is a small miracle since this week I was "backslidden", having eaten many homemade cookies (Hubby is skilled at my Aunt Grace's chocolate chip recipe) and some candy. The cookies tasted great, but the candy doesn't even really taste that good anymore and I notice that after I eat it, I get a sore throat and tender glands and increased mucous. So, I think my body is telling me that what I have been eating is NOT good for me! LOL I am not overly concerned that it is not going down because it is also not going up! :o)

So, what to write about today? That is what I have been pondering the last couple days. My head is swimming with information since I have been reading cookbooks, websites and Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver. As the thoughts swirled around in my head, I knew that whatever I wrote would stand the risk of sounding like Fillmore from the Cars movie. Lightning McQueen (main character) asks Fillmore (a 60s VW Van) why he had never heard of this great organic fuel before. And in perfect Cheech and Chong voice, he answers, "It's a conspiracy, man!" LOL The truth is that some of what is wrong with our foods and eating today is a "conspiracy", or at least the direct result of a government trying to figure out what to do with excess commodity crops. This has led to a slippery slope of processed foods with high chemical content and/or highly modified "food" such as High Fructose Corn Syrup until today we cannot even recognize half of the foods that are in the grocery store as being an actual food. But there are so many notes and good points from that book that I have decided to wait until I have finished reading to summarize it.

Those who know me in real life, realize that I am rarely middle of the road and tend to be passionate one direction or another. I think black and white and truth is very important to me. I realize that sometimes this turns people off as it feels too intense and that you may not be interested in what I have to say. Another risk is that when I write what I learn, it may come across that I think I know it all. So I want to clear that now...I don't know it all, I don't pretend to know it all and I do not make judgment on you for your food choices. My learning style is to research and then share what I learn in writing. In college I was a major note taker and I still do today in church and Sunday School and when I read non-fiction books. I also enjoy writing here to share with you so that I can LEARN from YOU! I have loved the input you have left in comments and emails. It is so encouraging to know that I am not on a weight loss/health/nutrition journey alone. Thank you!

The best advice, I received from Deborah. To paraphrase her, she recommended not deciding "I will never eat this again." That leads to unending "I'll have this one last time" moments. She's right, many diets have led me down this road. Thanks Deborah for the great advice. I am on this adventure not only for my own health - as an older mom, I want to live to see my children grow up - but, also for them. I read in Kingsolver's book and heard from other sources that this generation of children is the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than their parents! I am appalled! If I start now, it should be easier for my children than them waiting until they are 40!

So, today, I thought I would ask you about some things I have been wondering about:

1. For those who are cooking gluten/wheat free, what are your favorite cookbooks, mixes, websites or other sources? What advice do you have for a newbie as far as what to avoid or what would you do differently starting out?

2. Do you have a Vitamix mixer? If so, what do you do with it besides smoothies? I understand it has excellent quality. But what makes it a better tool than say 10 regular mixers purchased over the next 25 years (which is what one VM would cost)?

3. Do you have a pressure cooker? If so, where did you buy it, what kind and what do you do with it?

4. Any organic gardeners? What books, seed sources etc do you use?

5. For a person making a life style change such as our family is making, do you have any other advice, input or suggestions as far as books, tools, appliances etc?

I also checked out The Ultimate Smoothie Book from my library and I read some interesting things that answered questions I had in mind regarding organic fruits and vegetables. She quotes a Rutger University organic food study comparing the nutrients of organically grown veggies vs commercially grown. The results are dramatic as can be witnessed in this chart which I found by googling (therefore I know nothing about the rest of the site). For instance, commercially grown spinach only has 3% of the amount of iron as organically grown. No wonder America is a country of overweight, but malnourished people! I thought I would include this information here for those of you who have been wondering... Is it really worth it to spend more? Apparently, you get what you pay for!

Honestly, I have really been feeling too overwhelmed to start making a lot more changes and I am going to listen to my body and mind and gut and continue researching and start some of the changes as I can. It is so overwhelming to think of all the things that have gluten in them that I cannot eat! The most difficult for me would be spaghetti. I have not found a gluten free alternative that is palatable!

Yesterday the kids and I went to Whole Foods Market and I did pick up some mixes of Gluten Free blends for baking, pizza, pancakes etc. I thought I would try them first to see if it was worth pursuing making my own mixes. I am very fortunate that there are many sources here to find healthy and nutritional food.

The information in itself is somewhat overwhelming. And I realized that some of the feeling I experience now is that I have not been able to get down on my knees and share with God what I am thinking and feeling, read His Word and listen for His direction in my life. Our relationship with God is the key ingredient in our over all wellness. Since I recently made the decision to put Precepts Bible study on hold while we establish a school routine with D, I have not been reading the Word as consistently. When I don't read His Word, I feel malnourished in my soul. This week I will continue to research nutrition, but I will also make the time to spend with Him, restoring our relationship.

I would love to hear what some of you are doing and what is working for you in your health journey.


Donna B said...

My goal for this week is to drink more water. I am terrible at this...aiming for 100 oz. a day.

I'd love to read some of those books...they sound interesting!

Gardens Alive! has a raised bed organic gardening kit that is a good way to get your feet wet...

Holly said...

Great post, Theresa. I can identify with the whole black/white way of thinking :~) Funny, though-that doesn't mean I am faithful to all I believe is true. I just ate a piece of oreo cake! Deborah is so right in her advice in this area. My goal is moderation. I have some ground to cover!
I don't really garden organically although most of my friends think I do. I use animal manures(our hens and rabbits)in my compost bin and use no other fertilizers at all. No bug control sprays either. I've noticed that the bugs flock to the sickly plants, so keep those plants healthy and half the job is done! I do buy some starts at the store so my plants aren't organic to begin with, though. I hope to change that this winter with a grow light for Christmas. Seeds of Change is a good source for seed-Whole Foods should carry them in the spring or you can request a catalog(way more fun!)You can keep seed viable for years if you store it sealed and in the fridge. That helps with the extra expense of organic seed.
My tomatoes did far better this year than my neighbors(who use chemicals). Rodale press has a book that I get periodically from my library...Seed-starting Primer and Almanac. There is a ton of great info there, and I love how they break it all down into your specific zone and what you should do when. That's on my Christmas list, too :~)

Deborah said...

Wow Theresa, I just love, love, LOVE your wellness Wednesdays! Great topics. We really need to talk (while I have unlimited long distance). You need to email me your telephone number!

My favorite Gluten Free cookbooks are The Gluten Free Gourmet and The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread. Anymore however, I mainly just convert regular recipes and primarily use organic brown rice I grind into flour in my Vita Mix (which I use multiple times daily). I think it is indespensible if you are considering going gluten free. You can grind your own rice flour and save a ton of money over the high priced rice flour available. Another thing we do that seems to work, even for Gregory on occassion, is to grind organic whole wheat into flour and then soak it overnight (12 hours) in keifer (made with the grains I got from Kathy from C.A.). That breaks down the proteins into a much more digestable form and even Gregory, who cannot tolerate gluten at all, can eat this way. The information comes from Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions. She maintains the Weston Price foundation website presently too. We are learning about the organic gardening (and gardening in general). We are not always successful, but a master gardener recently told me timing with planting is a critical thing and I haven't been very good with that thus far. I generally get my seeds from Southern Seed Exchange. Many of them are organic and heirloom. Since I eventually want to save seeds for replanting, I especially want to avoid terminator g.m seeds. Plus who wants to plant lab experiment plants? Another thing, my last time on the Lemonade Diet really helped me healthwise (though the time a few months ago was tough). I've felt so much better lately after cleaning out the junk and it really helped to eliminate my craving for sweets. I plan to do it again starting January 2. I think I answered all of your questions, at least somewhat. This has turned into a book! You are really an inspiration though and I am looking forward to these weekly posts.

Deborah said...

Whoops, forgot a couple things. Tinkyada pasta is probably the best out there. I'm planning to experiment with making my own from rice flour and water, which is all the gf pasta is anyway.

I have a pressure cooker I use for canning which I got from Lehmann's. I used to have the infusion cooker pressure cooker from T-Fal (I think), but lost it in the hurricane and never replaced it since I didn't use it very often for cooking.

One of the things I learned switching my family to a new type of food was not to try to replace something with an imitation/substitute. For example, there is no way to replace normal pizza with gluten and casein free pizza and expect it to taste the same. (Though I do make completely different gourmet pizzas that are gf.) What I found was it was better to find excellent recipes that happen to be gluten free which I could ADD to our diet while I subtracted unhealthy things. For example again, you might want to eliminate those cookies. If you try to replace them with a healthier version, no one is going to be happy with what you do. However, Bulk Foods has some dates rolled in coconut which my family thinks are an excellent treat. I can give them to the kids instead of making cookies. Or I can make "shakes" from almond milk, frozen bananas and dates (recipe from The American Vegetarian) that taste decadent, but are actually quite healthy.