Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My "Crazy" Diet, the Wrap-up

***update: I forgot one major positive change! It is added below.***

I wrote about my family's health issues and my own concerns that led me to embark on a healthier lifestyle here and here. Ultimately, it led me to see a nutritionist who put me on what many people think is a "crazy" diet, and although it took me a few weeks to get into the swing of things, now I view it as a completely normal and decent way to eat.

I've been meaning to write about what positive changes I've seen in my own life, so I'll take a few lines here to do just that. For brevity, I'll use bullet points:

  • Headaches - I used to have 2 to 3 headaches a week. Not migraines (although my nutritionist does deal a lot with people who suffer from those) but more of the end-of-the-day, tired-as-all-get-out kind of headache. Sometimes I would take a Tylenol or ibuprofen for them, and sometimes I would just go to bed and sleep it away. I do not have headaches anymore (unless my neck is out - but that is a different post).
  • Cholesterol - mainly the #1 reason I went to the nutritionist, my cholesterol levels had only been going up as I got them checked each year. And although my numbers were not dangerously high, they were elevated and at the tipping point. My family history did not bode well for them ever going down naturally on their own. After only 2 months of the diet, my overall cholesterol number went down 18 points and my triglycerides dropped 30. I'm actually pretty excited to get them checked again this summer and see how much lower they have become.
  • Sensitive stomach - if you've know me for any decent amount of time, you know that lack of sleep, late nights, strange foods, or too much excitement in general will affect my stomach. As a child, it always manifested itself in throwing up. Always. Like at every slumber party I've ever attended. As I've grown older, it has started to affect my digestion in different ways, but unpleasant just the same. Since starting this diet, I have traveled and stayed up late and eaten unfamiliar foods without it affecting my digestion. Massively huge difference this has made!
Some of the less tangible benefits have been an increase in energy, and most of all, an overwhelming sense of health and vitality. I used to obsess about every ache and pain and imagine what terrible diseases I probably had, but going off sugar has had the most significant benefit to me. I used to be embarrassed to give sugar that much credit, thinking it showed my spiritual immaturity to give a food (or lack thereof) credit for changing me. But I had a friend tell me, "You cannot separate your physical body from your emotions." In other words, God created our body to respond to certain stimuli. And if my body was reacting to all the sugar I consumed and it was affecting my mood and emotions, then it isn't cheating God of His glory to admit a diet brought about changes in my emotional well-being. After all, that is how he intended our bodies to work!

There have been other benefits from this diet, but some are too personal to share on a public blog! ;) So I'll leave it here and tell you that although my diet might look crazy to you, it has been a gift to me, and one that I'll gladly share with you if you want more details.

God bless!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nude Hosiery and Being a Slave to Fashion

As I got dressed for church yesterday, I put on a pair of nude hose under my pants. My mind went racing back to my freshman year at college, and all the drama that hose brought up.

Let me begin by explaining that I went to a conservative Christian day school that required all girls to wear skirts and to have some sort of stocking on their feet. Since ankle socks with dress shoes were only appropriate for those 8 and under, most of us wore hose. (It seems so funny now that as a 12 and 13 year old, I was completely comfortable in hosiery!) Anyway, I had a drawer full of boxes of Leggs brand, mostly in black and nude, as those two colors covered the bases for all my leg-covering needs.

Fast forward to my freshman year at college, where I attended an equally (if not more so) conservative Christian Bible college that also required girls to wear nylons or tights. Since the fashion industry hadn't reinvented tights into the cool, lycra-infused samples we have today, most girls didn't wear them because of the dreaded "elephant ankles" they produced. So I packed up for college with my suitcase full of Leggs, prepared for them to last the entire semester, or until my mom offered to buy me more. Once again, nude and black were the colors of my choice.

Oh, mournful day, when my new roommates (older and wiser) informed me that no one wore nude hose on campus. They were soooo 80's. So there I was, with boxes upon boxes of nude hosiery, and wanting to fit in, I couldn't (or wouldn't) wear them.

I convinced my mom to buy me a few more pairs in the more acceptable colors of white and cream, and steeled myself to take extra care of them so that they would not develop a run and force me to wear the old lady shade.

And none too soon, I myself joined in making disparaging remarks about the clueless girls who dared to wear such out of date nylons.

I'm so ashamed of that girl, who was such a slave to fashion and popular opinion. And yet, I'm not that different now. Sure, I have less time to agonize over my wardrobe like I use to, and I'm learning to be confident in whatever I wear now, but all too often I find myself thinking way too much about what other people think of my clothes.

I'm still growing and trying desperately to remember that being clothed in Christ's righteousness is more important than any designer label, but the pull of fashion still has a few of it's claws in me. The funny thing is, looking back at pictures of myself in high school and college, I thought I was dressed so fashionably! And I laugh now at how silly I looked. I guess that is one of the lies of slavery to style - you look fabulous for a day, and the rest of your life you will be mocked for your choices. Thanks be to God that His clothing for us will never go out of style!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Cozy Corner

We are half way into our school year and I forgot to start blogging about the read-alouds from our Sonlight curriculum, so I'm going to try to catch up here in a few different posts.

We started out our year reading the classic, Charlotte's Web.
Do I really need to give a synopsis for this book? I had forgotten how sweet as well as funny the story is. The kids loved it, and although it took us about 4 weeks to finish, they seemed very engaged the entire time. We rented the movie (the newer, live action one) and enjoyed it a second time as a family.

My verdict: perfect for us!

The second book we read was Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. I was familiar with McCloskey's book, Make Way for Duckling, which is a children's picture book, so I was really curious how his writing would translate to a longer, chapter book.
Well, it was much funnier, in a subtle way. There was some slapstick, obvious humor, like in the story about the doughnut machine, but much of the humor was lost on my kids. Not to say that we didn't enjoy the book - the stories were interesting enough to keep us all engaged, but I found myself giggling and then trying to explain what made me laugh.

My verdict: read it now to your 4-6 year old, but maybe again in a few years when they can grasp it better. Or save it and have them read it for themselves!

By the way, I found both of these books at Half Price Bookstore, so if you want to save a few bucks and support local businesses, check there before going to Amazon.