Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

53 Degrees Later

Less than 48 hours ago, we were having a picnic in the backyard. It was 85 degrees. In October.

Last night, the wind started blowing {not a huge deal in West Texas}, and it was coming out of the north. It started to get pretty nippy, so we christened the new fireplace.


Oh, it was so cozy! I almost wished I had a wooden rocker and some sort of embroidery to work on whilst my husband {a.k.a. Pa Ingalls} played old hymns ever so softly on his fiddle.

Almost.

We knew there was a chance of snow last night. There have been several "chances" for some sort of moisture coming from the sky for the past eight months, too. We've learned not to get our hopes up too high. So the family and I enjoyed our fireplace family time and went to bed happy and content that at least the it wasn't 85 degrees, and we weren't going to bed with the air conditioner running.

Fast-forward to 8:00 a.m. and 53 degrees later...


WHAT?!?! We've got.....oh, what is that stuff again?....Dang, I can't remember what it's called.....Oh, SNOW!!!!! A good four or five inches of snow blanketing our yard!!!!

It is so beautiful and peaceful.


Addilyn Belle was the first of my peeps to get to see the "snow flaking" as they call it. It's not 'snowfall'; it's not 'snowing'. It's SNOW FLAKING. Get it right, people.



Somehow, we managed a complete day's worth of school work. It's still just a bit too cold for me to allow anyone to go tromping around, but we're hoping for slightly warmer temperatures after nap time.

These peeps are beside themselves to get outside!

Dearest Fall, 

We welcome you with wide open arms. Forgive us for doubting that you would ever come. We were just about convinced it was going to be February before you finally got here. Please stay. We love you.

Your fall-loving friends,

The Dietz Family



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cousins!!!

Cousins came to play today!!!

I always get so excited when my peeps have an opportunity to get together with their cousins. Not that I have favorite nieces or nephews...but I especially love it when Ryan and Addilyn have a chance to be with these particular cousins. They're so close in age and have so much in common that playing together just comes naturally for them. We even call them "twin cousins" because, age-wise, they're spaced so closely together. Amy (their momma) and I did it right...we had them bam! bam! bam! bam! and it's worked out really nicely.

I also love it that we've (meaning their parents and us) managed to keep them close despite living LONG distances away from each other. They love to write letters, call one another, and mail pictures really often, so they're pretty much able to pick right up where they left off every time they're together, even though that's usually 2-3 times a year.

I didn't have close cousins growing up, so I'm so thankful that our peeps are going to have these wonderful, special memories.

Here are bits and pieces of our day:

A picnic lunch in the backyard

Girly girls playing dress-up ALL.DAY.LONG


What are they doing here???

 Playing cash register. Livie kept saying, "That's 26." I think she was trying to tell Addie that her ice cream was going to cost her $26.

And the boys pretty much played football and baseball ALL DAY. 


Ryan even changed clothes so that he would be appropriately dressed.

WE LOVE YOU, COUSINS! 





Friday, October 21, 2011

A Great Read & Two Lists

I've been reading Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Dyspraxia, Autism, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, and Schizophrenia ever since I opened my mailbox and found my newly ordered copy sitting there this past Tuesday afternoon. Despite its long and very medical-sounding title, I'm actually having a really difficult time putting this book down. I'm not writing this post because anyone has asked me to give a review of this book; I'm writing this post because this book is THAT GOOD.



It's fascinating and eye-opening, and I can't tell you the number of times I've been in the middle of a page and read something that made me say out loud, "Wow...that makes so much sense!"

If you are the parent of a child who has ever had a round of antibiotics, you need to read this book. If you are an adult who has ever had a round of antibiotics, you need to read this book. Have I left anybody out??

I'm almost finished. Today, I read a couple of Top 10 lists about ways to boost and ways to harm our immune systems. It's so simple to give our bodies a fighting chance at doing what God created them to do: fight off disease and heal themselves. Yes, GOD CREATED OUR BODIES TO HEAL THEMSELVES! Yet, our modern-day society, particularly the good ol' USA, can't seem to figure it out.

With cooler weather and shorter days approaching (not to mention flu season...no flu shots for us!), it's a great time to be thinking about boosting our immune systems. Here are Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's Top 10 Influences Which Boost Immunity (pp. 321):

  1. Fresh animal fats (from meats and dairy) and cholesterol-rich foods (particularly raw eggs yolks.) {Yep, you read that right; and no, I'm not kidding. We eat these in our family too.}
  2. Cold pressed oils: olive oil, fish oil, nut and seed oils.
  3. Onions and garlic.
  4. Freshly pressed vegetable and fruit juices. {Not from the shelf at the grocery store.}
  5. Regular consumption of greens: parsley, dill, coriander, spring onion and garlic, etc.
  6. Probiotic supplementation and fermented foods.
  7. Contact with animals: horses, dogs, etc. Having a pet in the family can do a lot for children's immune systems. 
  8. Swimming in unpolluted natural waters: lakes, rivers, and sea.
  9. Physical activity in the fresh air.
  10. Exposure to sunlight and sensible sunbathing.
Those seem pretty easy right? With the exception of swimming in the sea (or a West Texas lake in November), nothing on that list is terribly expensive, difficult to obtain, or time-consuming. Now, let's take a look at Dr. Campbell-McBride's Top 10 Influences Which Damage Immunity (pp. 323):
  1. Sugar and everything containing it: sweets, soft drinks, confectionery, ice cream, etc.
  2. Processed carbohydrates: cakes, biscuits, crisps, snacks, breakfast cereals, white bread and pasta.
  3. Chemically altered and artificial fats: margarines, butter replacements, cooking and vegetable oils, processed foods prepared with these fats.
  4. Lack of high quality protein in the diet from meats and fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts and seeds.
  5. Exposure to man-made chemicals: cleaning and washing chemicals, personal care products, pains, fire retardants, petrochemicals, pesticides, etc.
  6. Exposure to man-made radiation: electronic screens (TV, computers, play stations, etc.), mobile phones, high-power electricity lines, nuclear stations and nuclear waste.
  7. Drugs: antibiotics, steroids, antidepressants, painkillers, cancer medication, anti-viral drugs, etc.
  8. Lack of fresh air and physical activity.
  9. Lack of exposure to sunlight.
  10. Lack of exposure to common microbes in the environment. Living in a too sterilised environment is strongly associated with compromised immunity. The immune system needs constant stimulation from the microbes in the environment.
I can tell you what my family and I are going to be doing this fall and winter. We're going to be taking our probiotics and fermented cod liver oil, juicing our hearts out, eating lots of tallow, butter, and eggs, and getting outside, even when it's cold.

Friday, October 14, 2011

GAPS Preparations

The GAPS Diet isn't something you wake up one morning and decide, "I think I'll start the GAPS Diet today." It requires quite a bit of preparation. Although I've been researching this diet for several months, I'm finally at the phase where I get to DO something more than read. This prep work is beginning at least two weeks before we begin GAPS.

So, what have I done so far?

  • I ordered the book. I probably should have ordered the book weeks and weeks ago, but I've gotten so much great information from blogs and the GAPS Diet website that I put it off and put it off. I gave in on Monday and hit the one-click on Amazon.


  • I am making a MASSIVE amount of bone broth. Bone broth is ESSENTIAL on GAPS. You have it with every.single.meal, every.single.day. I was able to find some grass-fed beef joint and marrow bones from a local farm for a really good price, so I bought all I could. I've made two gallons so far, and I've got Pot #2 on the stove right now. {A good broth or stock takes about four days from start to freezer.} I'd like to start GAPS with at least nine gallons of broth in my freezer. I'll be making broth all day, every day for at least the next week.
  
  • Tallow. Lots and lots of tallow. I get a lot of funny looks when I tell people I'm rendering tallow in my kitchen. Tallow is the very beneficial fat that results when raw beef fat is cooked (rendered) at a low temperature and breaks down into oil. Traditional fats, including tallow, lard, raw butter, coconut oil, and ghee, are extremely healing to the digestive system, as they create a protective lining which coats the intestines, thereby making it easier for the gut to heal. Interesting fact about tallow: McDonald's used tallow for frying their French fries until the mid-1980s, when they switched to the cheaper, rancid, highly refined vegetable oils.
  • I'm experimenting. Once we get passed the first few stages of the diet, we'll be able to add desserts back into our repertoire. This is VERY important to me! But, since we can't have any grains or sugar the entire time we're on GAPS, dessert has to be made out of what IS allowed. These Fudgy Coconut Flour Brownies fit the bill. There's no grain and no sugar, but they're full of chocolate-y goodness. This picture is from the pan I made last night, and you can see that we're not having any trouble scarfing them down. I even went a step further to eliminate the cocoa powder and substitute raw carob powder and chocolate extract, making them extra GAPS-friendly. I plan to continue to experiment with baking with GAPS friendly honey, coconut and almond flours so that I'm prepared when the time comes to add dessert back into our diet.
Other things I still need to do:
  • Buy, cook, peel, and freeze squash...we'll have squash coming out of our ears,
  • Stock up on our probiotic since we'll be using 8 capsules a day for a while,
  • Order Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil,
  • Boil and de-bone the three pastured chickens in my freezer, divide meat into two-cup portions and freeze, use the bones to make chicken broth; freeze broth,
  • Continue to use up foods from my pantry, fridge, and freezer to make room for my ever-growing supplies of broth, tallow, meat, and veggies.
That's where we're at so far. I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on the preparation phase of our big change. For those of you who read and never comment, I'd like to answer any questions you may have about this diet, why we're choosing it, or even if you think we're crazy...you wouldn't be the first!

Much love,
Lindsey

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

We're going GAPS.

The GAPS Diet...maybe you've heard of it?

And maybe you haven't.

I've been researching the GAPS Diet for our family for several months now. There are tons blogs and websites out there that explain what the GAPS Diet is, so I won't go into the WHAT of it. You can read up on that here and here.

This is the Why-Is-the-Dietz-Family-Doing-the-GAPS-Diet? post.

Anyone who has known me longer than 10 minutes knows that nutrition and health are two things I'm passionate about. I LOVE to talk about food! I have spent the better part of the last three years learning, researching, and teaching myself about attaining TRUE health for my family and myself through eating properly. It's something I'll talk about at every family get-together, every play date, and every time we have someone over for dinner.

Heck, I'll talk about food with a fence post.

I am absolutely convinced that we are what we eat. Crap in, crap out. You get the idea.


First of all, every food we introduce into our bodies has either a positive or negative effect on our gut flora {a.k.a. beneficial or non-beneficial colonies of bacteria and yeasts which populate our intestinal walls}. When the foods we eat add beneficial bacteria and enzymes to our gut, we are healthy. The good guys keep the bad guys in check, and all is well inside our happy guts. When the bad bacteria and yeasts get overpopulated and out of control, it wreaks havoc on our bodies. This overpopulation of the bad guys can result in many symptoms, from digestive issues like heartburn and constipation to auto-immune disorders like fibromyalgia and Celiac disease to mental illness as bad as schizophrenia. The mind-gut connection is why all these symptoms and disease can be included in GAPS: because GAPS stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome.





Secondly, bad bacteria and yeasts LOVE sugar; and they'll take it in any form: bread, pasta, candy, cokes, fruit, cookies...basically, if a food breaks down to sugar in your body, that food is feeding the multiplication of harmful bacteria and yeast inside your body. In order to control these populations, you have to starve them and kill them. The only way to starve them is to stop consuming those foods which turn into sugar. So on the GAPS Diet, all grains, sugars (even unrefined), and carbohydrates like potatoes are off-limits.

In addition to food, every round of anti-biotics we've ever been on has caused major problems to our gut's health. Anti = against; biotic = bacteria. An anti-biotic is against bacteria. When we take anti-biotics, we essentially kill the bacteria in our gut; and the prescription can't differentiate between the harmful and the beneficial, so it kills all of them.



So {and I'm assuming you already clicked on my GAPS Diet links...if not do that now}, why is our family about to embark on a pretty crazy and extreme way of eating? {I can hear our entire extended family saying sarcastically, "Geez, we already thought you guys were extreme...you mean, it's gonna get worse???"}


Some things have come to the surface this past year in our health, things we always assumed were normal or just quirky and unique to us. Adding these things to other "normal" issues our bodies have experienced our entire lives brought us to the conclusion that our family's gut balance is out of balance.

Ryan was our first big clue. A kid doesn't just wake up one morning and proceed to have 12 days of diarrhea for nothing. A kid doesn't have budding yeast and white cells in his stool if nothing's wrong. So we did what any desperate parents would do: we went through an extreme change in a matter of days to become a gluten-free family. Ryan has also had trouble gaining weight since he stopped nursing (he gained like crazy after going GF, and has slowed down quite a bit since). He has leg and arm cramps at least once a week. And the dark circles under his eyes...Addilyn and I've got them too. They're known as allergic shiners.

Something we haven't shared publicly that I am going to share with you now concerns our daughter. Addilyn has always been different. Until earlier this year, we weren't able to explain exactly how she was different, just that she's always had quirks and mannerisms that didn't seem normal to us. These things were very annoying at times and very cute at other times, until we started homeschooling. At first we thought ADD or ADHD, but those didn't fit. We even considered mild autism, but that was too extreme. Finally, we had her tested. She is indeed very special and unique...something we always knew. But, we finally learned that she has multiple Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD)....something we could help with occupational therapy and additional dietary changes.

Looking at David, one would naturally assume that he's a healthy guy. He is, thankfully. But, he's always had small, red bumps on the backs of his arms (our daughter also has arm bumps, but hers are white) that have never gone away no matter what moisturizer I've put on him. He also has red areas on his neck, back, and insides of his thighs that look like ringworm, but they're not. We have no clue what they are, even though we've treated for ringworm, parasites, and other fungi. They just don't go away. David's cheeks are almost constantly red and flushed. He gets nighttime cravings for carbs and sugar like they're crack.

And then there's me. In addition to the dark circles I've had under my eyes since I can remember, I've had some trouble with my thyroid for about a year now. For a while my hair was falling out by the hand-full until I got my hands on some supplements. I've also had some digestive issues in the past, some since childhood, like occasional sulphur-smelling burps with large amounts of air in my stomach. I have never known what causes these episodes. I had them often when I was a child, and though they have lessened since becoming an adult, if one does occur now, it's worse than it ever was when I was a kid. I have some girly issues too, which I won't explain here, but feel free to e-mail me if you're really interested in the details. I have deep, horizontal ridges in my thumbnails. And I've been a chronic nail-biter since I stopped sucking my thumbs at the age of two.

So, what's all that got to do with diet??? Glad you asked.


All the symptoms in our family I just described to you are linked to Gut and Psychology Syndrome and can be cured with this diet over a period of months, even up to two years in severe cases. We have been conditioned to think that things like dark circles under our eyes, food allergies and intolerances, ridges in our fingernails, and bumps on our skin are just a normal part of life. Some people have them; some don't. That's just not true! None of those things are "normal", and I don't believe we should accept them as such. Those symptoms are tell-tale signs that whatever's going on inside our bodies in manifesting itself on the outside. It's our gut's way of crying out for help. It wants us to notice these things and fix them.


Now that I've pretty much explained what's been going on in our family and why we've chosen the GAPS Diet as a means to heal our bodies, I hope you'll research it for yourself if you're interested, critical, or a combination of the two. We are excited about the hope this diet gives us for the small issues like arm bumps and sugar cravings and the larger issues like gluten intolerance and SPD.

Please feel free to comment your thoughts or experiences with the GAPS Diet. I have yet to meet someone in person who's ever done it, so I feel like my only support is coming from blogs and websites. Speaking of blogs, I'll leave you with a few that have been helpful and informative to me:

Cheeseslave: This Real Food blogger is taking her family through the GAPS Diet and shares the positives they've experienced so far.

Keeper of the Home has been my number one source of information so far.

The Healthy Home Economist: one of my favorite Real Food bloggers also blogs about GAPS!

Cara at Health, Home, Happy is actually bringing her daughter out of autism with nothing other than the GAPS Diet! That right there gives me hope that we're on the right track for our symptoms, which are so minor compared to dealing with autism.

There you have it...one of the biggest, craziest {maybe most controversial} announcements I've made on the blog. It's going to be another week or so before we begin. I've got LOTS of work to do to prepare our minds and our kitchen for the changes that are coming.

P.S. Just be prepared that, other than a random homeschool post or family fun post, most of my blogging is probably going to be based on this topic. See you on the other side!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stung

Since we've lived in our new house...which is less than a month...we have found a few critters that we're not used to or fond of. The count is at two tarantulas, three centipedes, one wolf spider, and five scorpions as of yesterday. All but the tarantulas were found in the house.

EEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!

I am terrified of bugs/spiders/creepy crawlies. They give me chills and make me tense up all over, especially these, because none of them are "harmless". Ants, daddy long-legs, even bees I can handle. Not these.

If I've ever had a spider bite, it was minor, maybe just a really bad mosquito bite. I know for certain I have never been bitten by a tarantula, centipede, or scorpion.

Until today.

At 2:34 a.m., I felt a burning, sharp, stinging, hot pain go down my left pinky finger. I bolted out of bed, through all the covers off, turned the light on, and started dancing around our bedroom, screaming, "SOMETHING JUST BIT ME! OH MY GOSH MY HAND HURTS SO BAD!"

As this is not my husband's favorite way to be awakened, he is drowsily trying to figure out what the heck is going on with me.

I knew it was a bug bite of some sort, and I still felt like there were things crawling all over me. So I began throwing clothes off, afraid and convinced that whatever got me was still migrating around my body underneath my pj's. As I'm dancing around, rubbing my hands all over myself to get off whatever I thought was still on me, I spotted it crawling across the floor: a two-inch scorpion.

"THERE IT IS!! IT'S A HUGE SCORPION! BABE, KILL IT!!!!!" I'm still screaming. {I can't believe I didn't wake up the neighborhood.}

I was shaking all over. This is the nightmare of every person who is afraid of creepy crawlies...that they'll get into your bed somehow and eat you alive. Ugh, it's still sending chills down my spine.

My hand was ON FIRE. I have no words to describe how badly this sting hurt. There was no evidence of a sting on my pinky at all, except for a tiny white dot. My pinky and side of my hand, however, was burning and throbbing and going numb all at the same time.

Of course, I Googled it. Yep, classic scorpion sting.

As much as it hurt, I figured I wasn't allergic and that this wasn't a deadly scorpion since I was still alive 10 minutes later. No anaphylactic shock, swelling, dizziness, vomiting or fainting. Pain, yes. Deadly? No. An ice pack on my hand for about 20 minutes lessened the pain adequately enough for me to lay back down.

I have no idea how that thing got into my bed. I have no clue why it stung me. I quiver when I think that it could have been crawling on me for who knows how long before it decided to sting me. {{{Shudder!}}}

It took me over an hour to calm down and go back to sleep. I could still feel things crawling all over me, even when I told David he had to keep his arms around me for the rest of the night so I could sleep.

Have I mentioned that I hate critters?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Way of the Ninja

Learning to be a Ninja has been one of Ryan's chief occupations for about a year now. It all started when he met the little boy who used to live across the street from us. Zayden, apparently, also loved Ninja things, and Ryan was convinced that Zayden was a professional Ninja who was going to train him. Ryan would go across the street, and Zayden and he would "train" in their front yard for hours. There was no telling Ryan that Zayden wasn't really a Ninja.

{At this very moment, Ryan is reading over my shoulder, declaring, "Zayden was! He was a real Ninja!"}

Now that we don't live across the street from Zayden any more, Daddy is now Ryan's Ninja trainer.

You didn't know my husband was a Ninja?

Once you've been trained by Colt, Tum-Tum, and Rocky, you are forever and always a Ninja.


video

If you've seen the 1992 movie, The Three Ninjas, you, too, are a real, live Ninja, just like David and Ryan.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Weekend Bucket List

Our weekend is drawing to a close, and I'd say it's been a pretty successful one...if there is such a way to rate weekends.

On Friday evening, Ryan went to bed excited. He had come up with a list of all the things he and his Daddy were going to do together this weekend. Amazingly, he didn't write it down; and it was a pretty extensive list, but he remembered e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Football, baseball, tag, wrestling, hide-and-seek, and run-and-see-who-can-get-to-my-room-first were his goals for the weekend.

Not five minutes after David was out of bed on Saturday morning, Ryan had his tennis shoes on and was ready to play football. I knew David wasn't up for an entire day of backyard fun, but he was such a good sport. David, Ryan, and Addilyn got in some good football and baseball fun and a short game of tag before David needed to start mowing the lawn. {It's October and still 90 outside??...gotta mow before it's scorching...in October.}

David had to be at church by 2:00 yesterday afternoon and again at 8:00 this morning, but Ryan was still confident that everything on his weekend list would be accomplished. As soon as lunch wrapped up, the wrestling ensued. This isn't your ordinary wrestling. It occurs on our big king-size bed, with ALL the pillows. Addilyn is ALWAYS the princess for whom David and Ryan must fight to win. Wrestling in our house is serious.

Ryan was able to meet his goals earlier this evening with hide-and-seek and run-and-see-who-can-get-to-my-room-first {a game Ryan made up at bedtime one night}. Just when David thought his Sunday could finally come to a stopping point, Miss Addie decided she wanted in on the list-making. Except she made an actual list.

Addilyn: "Daddy! I have a list now too! Let's do my list!"
Daddy: "What's on your list?"
Addilyn: "First, we're gonna play dolls, then we're going to pretend to be butterflies, then birds!" {She's SUCH a girl!}
Daddy: "Oh, really? Is that all?"
Addilyn: "No! After we pretend to be birds, we're gonna be superheroes. Then I want to read Journey Cake, Ho!, and then play Guess Who."

I'm happy to report that all has been accomplished on her list too.


I guess the peeps just really needed some playtime with their Daddy this weekend. It was pretty refreshing for me to sit back and watch the fun happening.

I wasn't invited to participate. {Smile}