Adopting Is Changing Me

This whole adoption thing is taking some time!  We have received news that it could still be another 1-3 years.  Currently, we are praying about if that time frame warrants us working with a consultant.  A consultant would speed up the process but we would likely incur higher costs from going through a different agency.  So, we are hoping that the Lord gives us direction.  He knows where the baby will be.  He just needs to show us, so we can pursue the right avenue.  Would you pray for our decision?

I wanted to share a couple of things that God has taught me over the last eight months.  First, I have struggled a lot with fear.  Primarily, my fear comes down to being able to be there emotionally for this new little one.  In my observations, adopted children struggle much more intensely with their identity and with confidence that they are loved.  Sometimes I get tired just thinking about the journey we will be on with our new child and it hasn’t even started!

Recently though, I had a bit of a break through.  Simply put:  I want to love well.  Currently, I am pretty darn impatient and I tend to love conditionally.  I look at Jesus’ life and then my own and I see so few similarities!  Well, before I die, I want to be different.  So, I am looking to embrace this child for all that he or she will bring.  Even if it mean my love is sometimes rejected.  Even if it means speaking words of life to him or her OVER and over.  Even if it means disciplining differently.  Even if it means praying and waiting for answers that are slow in coming.

God has also confronted my selfishness.  I have realized so many ways that I don’t want to be inconvenienced in this process.  It takes time, and I whine.  We have extra paperwork and I am a little put-off.  We learn we might have to travel to another state to get the baby and I feel worn down.  Why does it seems like we are fighting an uphill battle?  Well, honestly, I rarely look at it with the right eyesight.  God made extravagant overtures to win my heart.  His Son traveled far.  His Son worked hard.  His Son DIED.  And, daily He weaves a path of good gifts for my life – little hugs along my way hand chosen by Him.  And, I can’t fill out another application or hop on a plane for our child?!

God is good.  This wait has definitely not been in vain…

(photo: hopeinchawaii.org)

You Are What You Think?

Things have been quieter the last few months here at The Crunchy Pickle.  And, the real reason is that I have been wrestling through some of my thoughts on health and food.  After writing for almost two years on the subject, I have realized that true lifestyle changes must include reformed thinking.  If we want a change to last, our thinking has to line up with it, right?

So, I am hoping to dive into that subject more with you all this summer.  Recently I listened to an interview at Underground Wellness given by Deb Cheslow and Angie Flynn called The End of Self-Sabotage.  Five minutes into the interview and I realized that these ladies had some great information to share.  I highly recommend that you check out the interview and let me know your thoughts by commenting below.  (In fact, my last post on public accountability included a couple of their basic ideas with my own twist…)

If you feel that your quest for health, wellness, energy, weight-loss etc. has begun to take you around in circles, I hope that some of the ideas that I discuss this summer will give you food for thought (or, new thoughts on food – no pun intended!)  Because, I don’t know about you, but I am hoping to find ways to live that are freer, simpler and more joy-filled.

Thanks for reading!  Crunchy

(store.warriormindcoach.com)

Quitting Coffee – Two Months In…

Just a quick little post to share how I finally was able to stop drinking coffee and not turn back.  Is two months a long enough test run to prove this method?  Well, I hope so, because it seemed to work really well for me.

The other times that I stopped drinking coffee in the past two years I quit cold turkey.  Unfortunately, I would get a week or two in and then cave.  It always came back to being so irritable and grouchy.  I couldn’t stand myself because I was so obnoxious.  So, I would go back to the liquid gold.

Finally, finally, I admitted I was addicted.  And, because I was actually addicted my brain chemistry had become dependent on caffeine.  In order to quit, I was going to have to pamper myself and take some time with the process.  Or, relapse would be inevitable…

When I started this attempt I was drinking one cup first thing in the morning and one around 11 am.  For one week I drank 75% caf, 25% decaf for the 11 am cup o’ joe.  The next week, I brewed 50% caf, 50% decaf.  The following week 75% decaf, 25% caf.  Once I was drinking fully decaffeinated coffee I dropped the cup altogether.  Then I began addressing my first cup of coffee of the day in the same fashion.  So, all said and done I think it took me about seven weeks to stop drinking coffee entirely.  Not a quick fix!

But, you know what?  Making the change that slowly meant that I felt NO negative shifts in my mood.  Steady Eddy was my name.  :)  It has been really great.  The only thing I wish I could change would be finding a way to not feel tired on a day after I haven’t slept enough the night before.  Now THAT would be a magic fix!

PS – I hope you know me well enough by now to know I would never be finding my caffeine through Diet Pepsi (horrors!), ice tea or any other beverage of the like, so I am truly coffee and CAFFEINE free.

 

(photos: urbanperform.org, addiction.lovetoknow.com,  fromseedtostomach.com)

A New Lease On Life For The Old Ticker!

I have super-high cholesterol.  Wanna know my total cholesterol number?  Brace yourself… It is usually around 410.  Gasp!  I know, I know, when nurses call to give me my lab results, they often tell me to sit down before they give me the news.  Cardiologists get very grave and serious when they see me.  Oh wait, are cardiologists always grave and serious?  Maybe.  ;)

Anyways, I first found out that I had genetic hypercholesterolemia when I was eight.  My mom was prompted to get my blood work done because her father had died of a heart attack at age forty.  She had been tested, and inherited high cholesterol.  It turns out that I did too.  So, we did what everyone did in the eighties.  We went low-fat.  I ate fat-free cheese and fat-free ice cream.  We tried to limit our egg intake each week.  We used margarine instead of butter and avoided mayo like the plague.

Thank God, oh, thank God, I was not put on a statin.  At that time they were too new and hadn’t been tested on children.  Instead, we had to take Questran in applesauce or orange juice to avoid absorbing dietary fat.  The biggest feeling when I think back to that time was shame.  I felt like there was something wrong with me that none of my peers had to think about.  If I ate something high in fat, I felt guilty.  If I broke a food rule, I knew I had just increased my chance of having a heart attack when I was fifty.  It warped me a bit.

But, the years continued to pass, I got married, and life went on.  I had a heart scan at 24.  No calcification.  I began the rounds of statin drugs and frequent liver function tests.  Just before I try to get pregnant for the first time, I read about the dangers of statins to a developing fetus so I stop taking them.  And, I wondered, “If they are so bad for a fetus, wouldn’t they be bad for me too?”

After a couple more years I began to research.  I discovered differing views about the causes of heart disease.  I learned about the side effects of statins.  I decided that there was more to this story and strengthened my convictions until finally I was at the  “Come hell or high water, I am not taking a statin again!” stage.  It felt a bit risky.

Last year I met with a doctor in my area who was willing to work with me.  I did the Berkeley Heart Study.  Although my total cholesterol number was high, there were many signs of good health.  My LDL cholesterol was primarily “large and fluffy”.  My inflammatory markers were low.  My HDL cholesterol number was excellent.

But, there was one test that I was waiting to have.  The CIMT (Carotid Intima Media Thickness test).  It is an ultrasound of your neck arteries that measures the thickness of the arterial walls.  This thickness is strongly correlated to heart disease risk.  Basically, the CIMT gives your arteries an age.  You hope that the age of your arteries matches your actually age.  If it is much older, you are clearly aging internally and at higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke.  An age match is good.  Younger arteries are even better.

So, yesterday I went in to get my test results.  The doctor starts with this comment:  “I don’t think I can recommend a statin to you in good conscience.”  (Good, since I don’t plan on taking one!)  And, then she reviews my results.  My actual age:  almost 33.  My CIMT vascular age:  21!  Woot!  Woot!

The whole drive home I couldn’t believe it.  I felt relieved.  Vindicated.  Like there wasn’t “something wrong with me.”  Supposedly, the CIMT is the most accurate assessor of heart disease risk available currently.  And, it says I am fine!  More than fine!  I am grateful.

So, please ask away if you need resources for you or a loved one with high cholesterol.  I hope I can help.  And, as always, thanks for reading!  ~ Crunchy

 

(photos: sti.nasa.gov, yourimt.com, kasamim.com)

What Really Causes Heart Disease?

Oh how I love when an article like this comes my way…  Here is a heart disease post written by a cardiologist that expresses my view points to a tee.  It makes me so happy to see this information going more mainstream!  Read it all here:

http://preventdisease.com/news/12/030112_World-Renown-Heart-Surgeon-Speaks-Out-On-What-Really-Causes-Heart-Disease.shtml

No more statins!  No more statins!

 

The Part of the Home Study Where Our Home Gets Studied

We are wrapping up our home study this week.  If you are thinking about adopting, be sure to click on my explanation of what a home study is here.  Towards the end of all the paperwork you actually have your HOME studied.  Ours was last Wednesday.

So, I did what any rational (?) person would do and spent three days cleaning.  I scrubbed tubs.  I dusted air vents and blinds.  I organized so that our townhouse would seem ultra-spacious (is that even possible in a townhouse!?)  for the new little one.  I was truly thankful that I didn’t reach a point where my list was so long and my kids were so needy that I yelled at them.  Then, I would have gone into the interview feeling like a total sham of a parent.  Not that I have ever experienced this emotion.  ;)

With my back sore from all the cleaning, I welcomed Kim on Wednesday morning.  My kids were silly.  Energetic.  Curious.  Interrupting.  Totally, typically themselves.

We HAD to have snacks first.  Because, there were special snacks we got the day before at the store and who can wait, right?!  Simeon covered himself in fruit dip and matted some into his hair.  He shouted “MO!” (no!) when Joshua or Elianah did something he didn’t like.  He turned on the piano keyboard when we weren’t watching and banged the keys.

Elianah chatted away through the whole interview.  She explained what Simeon was saying or doing.  She asked Kim questions.  She showed off her bedroom and her doll house.  She spoke more than any of the rest of us. :)

Joshua alternated looking bored at the table and teasing his brother as he walked by his high chair.  He ran laps around the family room.  When he got super bored he laid down on the floor and sighed deeply. He was really hoping that Kim would offer to play Wii with him…

All in all, she got a pretty accurate read on what life is like around here.  This new baby will not get peace and quiet.  He or she will not get all the attention or brand new clothes.  But, we cam guarantee lots of love, energy, fun and belonging.  We seem to do that well.

And, no she didn’t check the tubs.  Or, the closets.  Or the cabinets.  Or, the kitchen floor.  Oh well, at least spring cleaning is done!

The Post Where I Admit I Am Fat…

I am a bit fat.  Again.  I am not sure how it happened but I suspect I might have taxed my body in the fall trying a low carb version of the paleo diet along with intermittent fasting.  Although I didn’t wish for my mini-muffin top, I am actually grateful for it.  It has brought me clarity on few points.

I am not a bad person because I have gained weight.  I didn’t binge eat fast food to get to this point (although cultural norms would lead many to believe that this is the ONLY way that someone gets fat!)  In fact, you wouldn’t believe how hard I was trying.  No grains.  No sugar.  No dairy.  Fasting days.  I have done it all and yet, here I am.  So, why do I feel guilty and like I don’t measure up?  Why can I have confidence about so many things, yet doubt my worth because of a simple number on the scale?  Why do I give it so much of my time and attention?  It is evidence that I have a hole in my heart.  A lie that I still believe.

So, if you are out there and you have five pounds or 105 pounds to lose, here this:  “Your weight is not a character indictment.  I know you are trying hard.  I know you have counted calories, jumped on the low-fat craze, zoned yourself to death, P90X’d til you were blue in the face, and completed that half marathon just like you promised your spouse.  You don’t know WHY you are fat but you still are.  And, if one more skinny religious person mentions gluttony around you, I will give them a swift kick in the hiney for you.  Because you aren’t replacing God with food.  At least not most of the time  (and when you do, it is because you can’t take feeling like the sum of who you are is the size of your jeans – that’s when you eat a plate of brownies!)”

I also realized that when I started this blog, I hoped that I would find the magic steps to be perfectly fit and toned.  Then, one day I could post before and after pictures.  People would come from all over the web to tell me how amazing I looked.  It is embarrassing to admit this!  But, really, that need to hear that I LOOKED incredible was a subconscious undercurrent.  And, truth be told, the comments would fade, the years would continue on, and I would once again face my appearance issues.  I would rather just do that now and allow God to heal me internally.

So, if you have ever felt a superior or haughty tone in my writing style I APOLOGIZE.  It was probably my hidden motive of hoping that you would tell me that I was great.  Blech.  Instead, I pray that I will get out of the way long enough for the good information (the parts we DO know about nutrition) to come forth and help one of you.

Finally, I can’t do this on my own.  I will never have a success story on Mark’s Daily Apple about how I figured out my perfect body and my perfect life.  My story, if I were to post, would read like this:

“I discovered the Primal Blueprint at the exact time that I had just finished 30 books on nutrition and the pieces of the puzzle all seemed to line up.  Being primal took the best ideas of those authors and melded them into an approachable and happy lifestyle.  So, I jumped on full speed ahead. 

For awhile everything was great.  I felt energized and I lost weight.  But, as time went on, my weight loss plateaued so I began to tweak things.  First, I tried getting more sleep at night.  Then, I tried the GAPS diet while being primal to heal my gut.  Then, I went Whole30 paleo.  Then, I became interested in autoimmunity and became strictly gluten and dairy free.  Then, I gave intermittent fasting a try.  First, through a shortened eating window, then through every other day fasting.  I tried no fruit.  I tried no potatoes.  I tried caffeine free. 

And, I gained weight back.  About 10-12 pounds of the original 17 that I had lost.  I read about body weight set-point theories.  Satiety theories.  Pathogens that cause weight gain.  In depth analysis of the hormones like leptin, insulin, cortisol, adrenaline, and Vitamin D.  It didn’t matter what I read or what I did, I couldn’t get the weight to budge. 

The most important piece was missing.  My FULL, humbled surrender to God.  This story should never have been about you telling me I was great, because God tells me that I am great.  And, as I steep in His truths, all of this vain striving must cease.  Are there nutritional keys to a better quality of life?  Yes.  Yet, for me, a big part of this process was realizing my prideful streak and letting go of facades.  I simply don’t have the answers. 

Who knows how the story will end, but He better get ALL the glory this time!  And, in the meantime?  I plan on relaxing.  I am tired of trying so hard.”

PS – I don’t think Mark would take my story because there isn’t a whole lotta primal love for us Christians and that story would be a magnet for negative comments.  I know some of you know what I am talking about!  That’s OK, I will always side with Jesus because He tells me I’m His favorite.  :)  (Don’t worry, He feels the same way about you!  If you don’t believe me, go ask Him!)

(photos: mybellringers.blogspot.com, leisurespecial.com)

Best Dessert Picks From Around the Web

So, you want to eat paleo, or sugar-free, or grain-free, or dairy-free but you have a birthday party coming up… Well, here are some recipes that have been tested by the Crunchy Pickle Crew and we have determined that they are delicious.  Not all recipes meet all the requirements of being sugar, dairy, and grain-free.  Pick one that works for your dietary needs.  Just click on the blog title and it will link you to their recipe.  Photo credits belong to each blog.  I am just borrowing their pics.  :)

The Food Lover’s Primal PalateChocolate Almond Butter Ice Cream (made with coconut milk).  Creamy, smooth, delish.  I have yet to actually put almond butter in it.  The plain chocolate is incredible enough.

Elana’s Pantry: Cinnamon Bun Muffins.  We had these Christmas morning and they were great!  With her cream cheese frosting recipe, these would be a great “cupcake” for a child’s birthday.

An Hour in the KitchenAlmond Joy Knock-Offs.  These are decadent, satisfying treats.  You will never miss packaged “bite-sized” chocolates again!

Primal BalanceSweet Potato Muffins.  Filled with harvesty goodness, these muffins are great warmed up with a dollop of butter.  A sugar-free indulgence.

The Food Lovers’ Primal PalateBill’s Birthday Cake.  I used this recipe for Elianah’s fourth birthday (see post here).  Good stuff!

Elana’s PantryEasy Gluten-Free Black and White Cake.  So simple.  So fast.  So yummy.

As you can see, I am a bit partial to chocolate desserts.  Do you have a favorite paleoish dessert?  Be sure to comment below.  Happy Celebrating!  Crunchy

Recipe From Around The Web: Hamburger Soup (Paleo and GAPS friendly)

For all of you folks out there doing the GAPS diet or a paleo healing diet, this is the soup for you.  Hamburger soup has great kid appeal without any of those unhealthy ingredients that kids seem to crave.

The base is homemade broth (big health plus!), the flavor is excellent and it freezes well.  You can make this with or without turnips.  I like it both ways.  I have never tried it with the celeriac or red lentils.  I just add a bit more of the other veggies.  It also works with chicken broth instead of beef.

Thanks to The Keeper of the Home for a soup that my whole family loves.

(Click on this link for the full recipe).

(photo: keeperofthehome.org)

 

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