Friday, August 30, 2013

Carrots. And Baby Led Weaning.

My daughter has always been on the skinny side, save for a month-or-so-long period around the six-month mark when she suddenly turned chubby. But boy, can this girl eat!

I always kind of wonder why.

I was a teeny tiny child. As in, my daughter would dwarf me in comparison if I'm to believe the numbers in my baby book. I didn't eat a ton then, as far as I know, though I did as I became school age and a teen. I ate like a horse. Or at least a linebacker. And stayed anorexic-looking. Damn undiagnosed Celiac.

So I expect my kid to be pretty slender, especially if you consider that her dad is a beanpole. What I didn't expect was that she would regularly eat more than I do at meals (at the age of two)!

When she first started eating more solids, probably at about one and a half or so, I thought, "dang, this is quite the growth spurt!" But then it just continued. And became a new normal. I know kids go in phases of eating more and less, but her set point seems to be at "more", and I know something is up if it changes to "less."

Is it because she eats mostly GAPS foods like I do? Does she need to eat more because her foods aren't as "filling" as SAD foods? (I use that word hesitantly, since I hate the idea of eating food just to promote a feeling of fullness instead of for nutrients.)

Today's breakfast was a whole banana, some grapes, two strips of bacon, a scrambled egg (sometimes two!), and soup.

So I have a good eater on my hands, and I'm not complaining about that, since I know soooooo many toddlers whose parents have to tie them to a chair with a jump rope and force feed them. Like Ensure boarding, but without the whole prison part.

Ok, not really, but I do know many whose kids will only eat yogurt and chicken nuggets. Or string cheese and chicken nuggets. Or chocolate milk and chicken nuggets. (and then complain that their kid always has horrible diarrhea, to which I gently replied, "you know, maybe it's what they are eating? maybe you could try a little less dairy?" Except it probably wasn't said as gently as I'd like to give myself credit for...)

I remember being so worried about whether my kid would eat. And what she would eat. I spent soooooo much time researching things, that I kept seeing information on Baby Led Weaning (BLW). It doesn't really have much to do with the weaning aspect of things, more with introducing solids. While I took away a few good things from it, like not being worried if my kid wasn't eating meals worth of solids every day at the age of six months, I have to say that it did NOT work out as expected with my daughter. I also think that some people for whom it does work worship BLW as a religion. And also look down on those of us who, after an initial conversion, slide back to a more traditional weaning view.

We started with roasted carrots. Oh, how I wish I would not have started with carrots. Devil eczema carrots.

I should have known that carrots were a problem for her when she wrinkled up her tiny nose at them. Every. Time. I thought she was just uninterested in food in general, which she really was until about 9 months, but she was especially hostile toward carrots.

Part of the beauty of BLW is that you don't have to sit there with a little spoon in hand, feeding baby while your plate of roasted salmon and asparagus becomes frigid and disgusting. Instead, you get to sit there, watching every little tiny bite of anything she tries to take while simultaneously trying NOT to hover, evaluating the approximate size of any bite she does take, and reviewing infant choking procedures on a constant loop in your head.

She gags. She shows signs of choking. You whisk her out of her high chair, turn her over, and smack her on the back. She breathes. You breathe. You realize she probably wasn't actually choking, but you weren't about to take the chance. Once you stop hyperventilating, you give her more. She gags again. You freak out again. She looks at you with that special expression of "what the HELL are you doing to me, woman?!"

Any meal at which she doesn't gag constantly is regarded as a success, with the exception of the fact that you were constantly paranoid. Which makes for such an enjoyable meal for parents and baby alike.

So I stopped with the solids after giving it a good go. I eventually tried some purees, the BLW equivalent of the devil's food (cake). She was way more interested. I was way more calm by the end of a meal. And that cold salmon wasn't even a problem.

She never did like the carrots, whole or pureed. And I gave them to her every dang day. And she had an awful, awful rash on her face for months.

The day I stopped the carrots was the day it started going away.

Funny how one of the notes about food in my baby book said, "5 months. Tried carrots, broke out in rash. Try again later."

Go flippin' figure. That would happen to me with the most nonallergenic food in the world.

Friday, August 16, 2013

GAPS, Round Two

Round One began November 1st, 2010.

It died sometime in early February 2011? When I, pregnant and starving, experienced my first migraine aura in years. Once I revived my blood sugar, regained my sight, and got a grip on reality, (hey- I was pretty freaked out. I though I was having a stroke for a little bit there...) I knew it couldn't go on this way. I just needed more to eat.

Plus, the taste/smell/thought of chicken was enough to send me sprinting to the porcelain throne.

So I may have made it two months.

Believe it or not, though, those two months were enough to convince me that I needed to give GAPS more of a try. Later. Someday.

I suppose that someday is now. Sigh.

I was thinking to myself, "Self, I should keep a journal. Maybe that will not only keep me motivated and accountable, but also provide an easier way to evaluate my potential healing progress."

Lo and behold, the return of the blog.

(Cue angels singing, heaven opening, fanfare-y music)

So I'll outline a bit of what I'm doing, and what I'm doing differently. I don't do GAPS by the letter, and I certainly don't ascribe to the notion that there are "legal" and "illegal" foods (just sounds so bureaucratic), but GAPS is definitely the inspiration for and the logical basis behind my own diet.

There is so much to tell. The "How I Got Here" side of things. The "Where I Am Now".  The "Other Factors to Consider".

Here's what I'm going to do. If you want info on GAPS itself, please look at the GAPS website. I'm not going to go into a dissertation on the how/why of GAPS. There are a billion and a half other bloggers who have explained it, likely way better than I would anyway. Plus, the book is pretty helpful. Too bad I've forgotten who I loaned it to.

So GAPS. It's worth another try. Here goes nothing...

(By the time I'm posting this, it is a couple months since I first wrote this post. I suck at posting. I'll give you the full update soon, though my results have been disappointingly underwhelming. Sigh.) 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

GAPS-friendly, Paleo-ish Pumpkin Pie

Ok, so my latest addiction is pumpkin pie. It's kind of ridiculous, actually. Between my almost-2-year-old daughter and myself, we have consumed an entire pie in the last 48 hours. Oops.

Granted, it's been a little crazy here. I worked the past couple days at my old job, and I'm totally out of practice and the loop. Just because you remember how to ride your bike doesn't mean it's not going to be extremely awkward when you get back on and try to ride...

Anywho, we ate lots of pie. And it was splendiferous.

Here's how I make it, with a very, uh, standard recipe format. Right.

I use as few dishes as possible, given my aversion to washing them.

Get out a batter bowl, whisk, rubber spatula, 1/2 cup measuring cup, 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, fork, and pie plate.

Put 1/3 cup butter in the bowl. Nuke it for 30 seconds or til the butter melts. Add 1 1/2 c. almond meal. (I like almond meal that I make myself in the Vitamix better than almond flour. Not sure why, I just like the texture better.) I usually add a little coconut flour too, like maybe 1/8 cup?

Stir up with fork. Dump into pie plate. Squish into a shape vaguely resembling pie crust using your spatula or, let's face it, your fingers. Set aside.

Into the bowl go the following:
  • 1 small can pumpkin (15 oz.)
    • I like this one from Farmer's Market, though I use Libby's if in a pinch. The FM stuff tastes different, but it has more taste in general. Plus, you won't get your RDA of BPA, since the can isn't lined with BPA. Good choice.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
    • Again, with the BPA thing, I like Native Forest. Of course, it would have to have something wrong with it (doesn't everything), being that it has guar gum. Fail. But at least that is better than xanthan gum! That's some nasty $#!+ right there.
  • 1/2 cup honey
    • Measure and pour the coconut milk before the honey, don't rinse your cup, and the honey will pour right out. No muss, no fuss.
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla
    • Rodelle is my fav for this! I'm sure I've mentioned that before...
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • dusting of freshly grated nutmeg
Whisk. Pour. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 350 for approx 30 minutes. Remove either once your delicate almond crust gets almost burned, or the middle doesn't seem jiggly anymore. Whichever comes first!

I'll warn you, though. This is not like SAD pumpkin pie. It is way better! It's more like a pumpkin custard with a nutty, textured crust. Seriously good warm, too. I usually destroy my pie by taking out a messy, pudding-y piece as soon as it is cool enough not to burn and destroy my mouth. Don't want everything to taste like rubber for a month... (Jim Gaffigan. Hot Pockets. You must see this.)

Anywho... good stuff. I'll take a picture sometime if it ever lasts long enough.

Friday, August 2, 2013

So maybe this isn't so bad.

I sometimes wish I took more time to blog. But then, I wouldn't have as much time to cook. Or sleep. So you can see how it falls down the priority list. Maybe if it was my job, but whatever. I'm never going to be THAT dedicated.

That said, I've been meaning to blog for a long time. Blog posts often form in my mind as I wash dishes. And heaven knows, I do a LOT of dishes. My latest and most important update post was going to be about how I was trying GAPS again. Mostly. And was. I've eaten some buckwheat and quinoa bread lately, and I actually feel better with it. So that wagon has kind of sailed.

It's not a willpower thing though. It's a migraine thing. I don't know if my hormones have decided to run amok, or what in the world is going on, but I have NEVER had this many migraines. I thought maybe it was a magnesium thing, so I took more magnesium. After a few days, I felt weird, and I had more migraines. So I tried zinc. Then calcium with some mag. Then none of the above because of the citrate content. This belongs in a separate blog post. I'll get around to that eventually.


So the moral of the story is that I've been feeling like crap, just a different kind of crap from before. Gotta love variety.

I've had a lot of down days, when I'm just so damn frustrated that I can't figure this out. That what seems to work for other people is totally useless for me. That I'm always seeming to miss that one piece of the puzzle that would make me feel human again.

And on top of it all, I'm just plain tired. Of being tired. And spacey.

Things have gotten slightly better since I started taking some l-glutamine. It's been on the shelf in my ever-filling-with-useless-crap supplement cabinet for probably a couple years now, but I was always hesistant to take it while I was breastfeeding. I know it's just an amino acid, but still. I'm paranoid.

So things have looked up a little bit. I'm still having some blood sugar issues that seem to feed into the migraine issues (or vice versa?) and singlehandedly keeping my chiropractor in business. But I don't feel quite so tired. Maybe more like a normal person when they are hungover instead of someone in a coma.

That said, the point of this post is that things aren't really so bad. Yes, I'm still sick and tired. Yes, I have to cook ALL. THE. TIME. and I have no social life and no time to pursue the things I really enjoy. Yes, I would love to travel, learn new things, see faraway friends, go out for a cup of coffee.

But my genetically-linked disease is not spina bifida. Nor is it Batten Disease. SB is potentially terrible, and BD is a worst nightmare scenario. Both of these have recently entered the lives of friends.

This might not make a lot of sense, but I'll attempt to describe this accurately... It's hard to have perspective when your day-in-day-out reality of just surviving the exhaustion and pain clouds your view. When I hear of friends going through such awful circumstances, I feel such pain for them. I pray a lot. I somewhat understand (as much as is possible) just how terrifying it must be. It makes me realize (in my brain) how lucky I am. The problem is, though, it often doesn't jolt me into really realizing in my heart that I am fortunate. It doesn't usually inspire gratefulness. Just sadness and fear.

Today, though, it finally did. God must finally have gotten through to me and finally beat into my head just how good I do have it.

It's just food. It's not a debilitating, fatal disease where I have to watch my child regress and eventually slip away. That just breaks my heart. And along with breaking my heart today, it finally replaced my guilt, fear, and self-absorption with gratefulness.

And for that, I'm truly thankful.