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. :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Weight loss

I was looking at a post from May 2011 about losing 52 pounds and in awe of the pants I was wearing then. I still wear them as fat pants occasionally, but really, they're way too big. I'm down I think about 90 pounds, but I threw out the old scale in the move, so I don't know exactly. I do know that last I checked the scale hadn't moved much, but the inches since we moved and I started walking (and running) have also come off.

On Sunday, I even ran (a very slow) 5k, I'm so proud that I did it, running the whole way!

And here is a pic of that day.

And one of me in a size 12 dress. Don't get too excited about that size folks, it's cut perfect for my hips! I'll be wearing that to my 15 year high school reunion this weekend.

I've come a long was since I made that post in May 2011, but even further since 90 pounds ago!

I made a quilt!

A lap quilt for Nora, for her birthday on Friday.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A little project

I took this from the playroom portion of the attic and put it in the unfinished area that is to be my office/craft room. It will be baby steps finishing it. I ditched those cabinets and just kept the drawers and top. Makes the playroom more open too!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A little break from school.

I have a small break, just finished my Gero class on Tuesday and we don't go back until Aug 27th (which is the same day the kids start back).  I'm excited to have a few weeks where I can work on some things.  Of course, I have to send the kids to the sitter to get much of anything done because they're evil.  No, they're not evil, they are just kids, who run behind you and dirty as quickly as you try to clean and organize.

Kitchen paint color on the one part I've finished.
I've gotten rid of a ton of kid's clothes and I keep finding more to get rid of.  It feels good to purge some stuff. :) 

Yesterday I cleaned my room that the kids had managed to destroy.  Then I cleaned their rooms, vacuuming and all.  And then I locked Josh's door so he can't get in it.  And wished I could do the same thing with Nora and Charlotte's room.  I also took all the toys on that floor to the attic.  My goal for the weekend is to get the attic bars up and to get a half door made to separate the two areas.  The one area will eventually be storage/my craft space/office.  The other half will be all play room.  I'm thinking the toys from the living room are about to become very scarce as well, which makes me happy.  It's not that I dislike them, I dislike them all over the floor, discarded and forgotten. 

I made a new rule today that I read on the internet, it is "if you're in the same room as I am when I'm working, you need to work as well".  The crayon (yes, Josh) on the door to the basement was cleaned off, as well as smudge prints and Josh also started cleaning off the back door.  I'm thinking this is the best rule ever. :)

I will leave you with a picture.  Just because I know you'll want at least one.

I am going to be sewing some things soon, a bridal shower gift, some kitchen curtains for my house and I'm going to be working on my quilt again.  But, I also need to finish up the kitchen painting.  I feel like we're finally starting to get somewhere though. :)

Sean, Nora and Josh swimming at a party last weekend.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A few projects that have happened at the new house

We started off with refinishing floors in the dining room and living room for our first project. 
Before - you can see what the area rug had been hiding

During - Sean hard at work

After living room with a preview of the new paint color (the grayish color).  Yes, you can see the different kinds of flooring used (yeah, we know, kind of odd, it threw us for a loop too), but we just haven't bought an area  rug to go over that area yet, but once we do, you won't even know it. :)  The dining room you'll see because (in my opinion) area rugs and small children who throw food on the floor at every meal) do not mix unless you have a dog waiting for the scraps. ;)  When the kids pass that stage in their lives, we'll happily buy another area rug for under the dining room table. :)

Yes, it's been a long time...again.

My only excuse is being incredibly busy.  If you want to skip all the writing, jump down for photos. :)

I'm almost done with my summer semester.  This class wasn't too bad, just lots of paperwork.  It was really a waste of a class.  They should have let me take OB for the full ten weeks. :)  I enjoyed OB, but that was a crazy five weeks of busy, busy, busy!  It was around 10 chapters a week of practice tests, paperwork and a test each week (two the last week, with the final!).  I missed an A by a few points and was disappointed, but I also didn't read any of the chapters fully.  I skimmed, I dug around when taking practice tests, etc, but I didn't truly read, because I didn't have time.

Because you know, I have three kids. :)  Nora finished Kindergarten and is super excited to start First Grade in the fall.  We took out her uniforms and tried everything on.  We officially have one pair of plaid pants that fit, two plaid jumpers and one pair of navy shorts.  We have a ton of white shirts that fit and that will be soaked in oxyclean starting this week for the knit ones (the cotton ones are mainly perfect, probably because I didn't want to iron all the time so I used the knit ones more often, especially for the ones not under the jumpers, lol).  Her one blue sweater vest still fits as does her one blue sweater.  Children's Place has a super cute sweater that I would have totally paid the $20 for but it's short sleeves!  What the heck is up with that?  We need it for fall, winter and spring and we need it with full sleeves!  We'll need more tights as she outgrew almost all of hers.  I'll look around for those on sale, last year I found them at Walmart for like $1 per pair.  I also need at least one pair of blue pants and another jumper or two.  I will look at the school's resale shop for the jumpers as they're $5 there, instead of $40 from schoolbelles.  I picked her up some super cute headbands that I think she'll actually leave in her hair at Children's Place for her birthday next month.  Yes, I know, I'm a totally cool mom buying school hair accessories for a birthday. /sarcasm.  I'm also a student, which translates to poor. ;)

Nora's Kindergarten Graduation - 2012
Josh is quickly nearing four and I've officially taken all 3's out of his closet and drawers.  My little man finally went through a growth spurt and is hopefully taller this year, since he wasn't even 50% last year for height.  He frustrates me and causes me to melt all within a few minutes, daily.  I hope four is better for us, I remember it being a better age for Nora, so I'm hoping it will be for Josh too.  Three has certainly been frustrating for me.  We're heading back to the Neurologist, she mentioned that he was sensory seeking when he walked on his tip toes last year and now we see even more signs of that.  On the plus side, his vocabulary has totally taken off. :)  It's still sometimes difficult to understand him, but he's making great strides all the time.

Josh - Lakeview Park July 4th 2012
Charlotte is almost 18 months and still my little allergy baby.  We recently did a dairy trial and it failed miserably.  I will miss you cheese, oh how I will miss you.  She babbles often and is starting to say more and more words.  She's very laid back and is always taking things in. I know the next six months are going to be awesome, it's one of my favorite ages as they start piecing their world together!

Charlotte - Lakeview Park July 4th 2012
Sean's job is going well, next month it will be one year.  It's been such a blessing for him to work for a stable company, you know, that gives health benefits and such!

As for me, I'm busy with school and kids.  Additionally, I'm also training for my first 5k.  I never thought that I would enjoy running (okay, slow jog), but I do.  The first mile I have to convince myself to keep going and then it's like I hit a sweet spot.  I put Josh to sleep, get Nora settled and then leave the baby with Sean and run. 

And where do I run?  In my great new neighborhood.  You see, we moved in May.  Which is another reason I've been busy.  I'm busy trying to finish unpacking and creating ways to keep my son from escaping the house.  He is a houdini!  And painting.  We still have to paint the basement and finish the kitchen and LR/DR combo (DR only needs rolled for a last coat but I had run out of rollers and LR just needs some cut and I'm too short to do it, lol). 

Side view of new house
Front view of new house

Becky and Alan, as well as my mom were all here over the 4th of July.  It was great. ;)  She has a lot of pictures of the visit on her blog too (which is on my sidebar).

Sean, Nora and Charlotte at the Grafton 4th of July Parade
All the kids loving on Aunt Becky
Nora and I at the end of the night before we left Cedar Point

I have a tracker on here and am surprised to find that I get daily visitors, despite only posting once this year (this will make twice) and a handful of times this year.  Weirdness.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

There's an app for that

Blogger has an app. That should make it easier to post.

School has me busy. The kids are great. Nora is wrapping up kindergarten and looking forward to 1st grade. Josh is in his first year of preschool, and has gone from 13 words to about 45. He has been blurting new ones out often these days. Charlotte turned a year. I'm going to throw her a late party, soon. She is babbling and being her usual charming self.

Weather has been fantastic! Windows open all day and night. :)

With photos I leave to prep for clinical tomorrow, and hopefully to study if I finish early enough.