Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Back at it

 Nursing school was rough at times, especially year two. Many tears were shed during the first semester of year two by me. But, I made it. Coffee was a big vice during that semester. Then this last semester food was my friend. Oh, and I added dairy, soy and corn back to my diet. Which means I gained some weight back. I was wearing a 16-18, but I'm firmly in the 18 again. Hopefully by summers end I will be back in that 16. I would like to look like this again!

Instead of like this:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Wrapping it up!

Well, it's official, I graduated from nursing school. :)  Now I wait to get my ATT number so that I can take my NCLEX.  For now, I enjoy my kids and plan my upcoming vacation. :)

My sister and her husband came in for my graduation, which was great.  She took some great shots of us, I only have a few though.  We left the two youngest with a sitter and hit Cedar Point after graduation and it was a lot of fun.

This is Nora and I at my pinning ceremony:

Becky, Nora and I at graduation:

And me marching in at graduation:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

But, I can't afford to eat this way!

You can! And it'll be better for you, or your baby and maybe both.

We have a family of five. On paper, in the Midwest, we are not destitute. Out household income is more than our average for our city. But, we are in a small urban, and we have many poor people. The thing that makes us feel like we're living paycheck is gas. And when it goes up, our pocketbook feels it. After paying for gas for the truck (an f-150 that commutes 80 miles per day), gas for my van (yay for getting a clinical site that is less than a mile from my house this semester, especially since I have to go the day before and then two days in a row!) and utilities, my cheap pay as you go phone, Internet/cable (most reimbursed by dh's job and that we can't just cut), school supplies, clothes (very minimal, we adore hand me downs!), meds for DH (30-80 per month, depending on I he needs his as needed med or not), copays, deductibles, household expenses, childcare and car maintenance, well often the only expense that can be cut is the grocery bill. I can coupon with the best of them, but most things I can coupon I can't eat!

So, what are my tricks? Buy in season produce. Buy from the side of the road by the local farm as this is cheapest, IMO! Try a farmer's market. Know your prices - keep a notebook if needed. For instance, in my area, Walmart has watermelons for $4.99 Giant Eagle for $5.99. Fenik's has them for $3.99 (when I was there last - this is a farm and prices may fluctuate), the stand in front of Wukie's furniture has them for $2.99. Can you guess where I've been getting watermelons? If you know your prices, you'll know whether a sale is good or not.

Another trick is to buy gift cards from Giant Eagle to places you are going to need something from (Home Depot, Walmart, etc) to earn fuelperks. They were running $.20 off per gallon for every $50 in gift cards, but I don't know if that is still going on. It's a great way to save on gas, but I need to get better at it! I do know what a good deal is, so I attempt to get those items there, which helps with fuelperks. I also am picky on meats and will only buy from Giant Eagle, Convenient or Fligner's. Fligner's is my favorite, but is the furthest, so we go there and stock up. They are pink slime free and I think all meats come from Ohio.

If you get WIC, if you shop at Giant Eagle, you'll get those fuelperks as well. When we were on WIC, even with my limited diet, the older two still needed milk and cereal and Rice Chex are covered! And as a breastfeeding mom you get a voucher for fresh fruits and veggies!

Check out grocery stores that you normally snub your nose at. Aldi's has a rep for a lot of heavily processed convenience food, but their fresh produce is good and cheap! Also, they often get organic foods in and organic foods tend to be more allergy friendly (not for every allergy, but I have found some that work with our list!).

Prepare to cook from scratch. Convenience foods just cost more.

Wheat is a definite issue for me, now what?

The next question you'll be asking is, is it wheat or gluten?

If its gluten, you'll need to watch things like oatmeal, which you can buy gf. You'll also need to avoid things like white vinegar.

And, if it's gluten and you're ready to add dairy back, you need to find gf dairy products, which I learned from a friend who has a daughter with celiac. The next time we retry dairy, it'll be with gf dairy, which, like everything else gf, will probably be more expensive. I'll address the expense soon as well. We're not destitute, but free my husband drives 80 miles a day in his f-150, the amount of cash left to play with after bills is not as much as I'd like!

What about oil?

Safflower and sunflower oils are the most allergen friendly, start with those.

When you start adding in oils, be careful as many contain ingredient without telling you. Olive oil can have corn. So, how to test olive oil? Put it in the refrigerator, if it hardens, it's the good stuff, if not, you have a cheap knock off. Now, you may not have a reaction, but if you do, you wouldn't want to eliminate all olive oils if it's only because you ate the Walmart brand olive oil.

So what can I eat for breakfast with no dairy, eggs or grains?

First, focus on what you can have and not what you can't have. It'll make things easier!

Things I made then, and still often make:
Hash browns (grate potatoes and season, I like Cajun and salt for seasoning).
Leftovers! Remember, it doesn't have to be true breakfast foods.
Rice chex with rice milk.
Dice or sliced potatoes.

Truly, if you can get out of the mindset of breakfast foods, you'll soon get in a rhythm and be fine. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Total Elimination Diet

I've mentioned before that my youngest daughter has several food allergies.  Many might be wondering how I figured it out when she was so young without allergy testing.  Most docs, her ped included, feel that testing under two isn't really necessary.  But, around four weeks old, I eliminated dairy and soy from my diet.  A few weeks later, I added peanuts.  Then wheat.  Finally, I searched the internet and pulled bits and pieces from a wide variety of sources to figure out how to do this thing called a TED (Total Elimination Diet).

I was just months away from sitting my IBCLC boards, so it was important to me that I do this and not resort to formula, even when the ped GI NP suggested that I do a formula trial.  Instead, I did it my way. 

The foods that I ate were the following:

Chicken, turkey, salmon
Potatoes and rice
Vegetables and fruits (minus citrus, berries, peas, tomatoes and corn).

People often ask me, "how long do you have to do that?".  Whether you're a breastfeeding mom trying to sort out her babies food allergies or you're a person suffering that's trying to get to the root cause of some digestive issues, the answer is until you are at a clean baseline.  For us, that was about three and a half weeks.  Her skin rash finally went away and the blood in her stool cleared.  She still had some cradle cap, but it had improved and I needed to eat something different.

There wasn't really a set order of foods that I went with, but whatever you eat, make sure that you allow your body enough time to react.  If you're adding back dairy, understand that the protein builds up in your system, so you might not have a reaction right away (especially if you're a breastfeeding mom looking for reactions in your baby) and you might need to give it more than a few days.  Most foods, having a few days in your system and you'll figure out if it's an issue for you or not.

At this point Charlotte and I are dairy, soy, corn, wheat and all artificial stuff (dyes, flavors, sugars) free.  I've lost about 95 pounds this way and eat when I'm hungry, not worrying about what it is.  I feel great compared to what I felt like before.  I really think that I likely had some colitis issues, which would explain why I'm no longer anemic/border line anemic like I have been for my entire adult life.  My father also has colitis (among multiple other digestive issues) and it makes sense from the familial side of it as well.

In future posts about this subject, I will post some recipes of things that we eat.  As an IBCLC now, I tend to get all the allergy questions.  I answer multiple facebook questions per month about this issue and my sister is trying to figure out some of her digestive issues and is doing her own TED, so I thought this would be a good post to write.  I know when I was searching, I had to pull from multiple areas because I couldn't find one that had all the information that I was looking for.  My hope is that other breastfeeding moms, or even those suffering digestive issues that are trying to repair their guts will find this post and future posts to be helpful.  Maybe I'll even post some pictures of our foods. :)