family, health and wellness

A Bierman Summer

Well, the first week of Bierman Bootcamp is done! We are all still alive! Actually, I think this is the most compliant my kids have been about something of this nature. Of course, Michael asked for it, so… He has been willing to try new combinations of foods. That isn’t to say that he has liked all of them, but he eats whatever the meal is and keeps going. That’s saying a lot for a sensory kid! So far, most of the meals in the Paleo In 28 book have been very tasty. There have been a couple that aren’t my favorite, but we are trying something new and the way I look at it, we can stick with most anything for just 28 days. By the time this is posted, we will be finished with seven of them.

As far as the workout is concerned, we have started out super slow and easy. I don’t know that Michael even broke a sweat the first day. Ha! We stretch every single day. You know those people who can do the splits and walk-overs, and when they stretch they lay down on their legs to touch their toes? Yeah. We are not those people. Our immediate family is not flexible. Several years ago, I tore a calf muscle. I have no fantastic story, unfortunately. It simply tore with one hop. Thank goodness it wasn’t so bad that I needed surgery or anything, but I did have to go to physical therapy for a few months. I learned so much. I had no idea how long the calf muscle actually is and how our muscles overlap and how tight they said my muscles were. I was told that if I didn’t stretch every day, my other muscle would probably tear, too because it was tighter than the leg I was there for. Well, now I stretch every day. I can touch my toes. That may not sound amazing to you, but I could not before. I don’t want my kids to have the same flexibility issues I have had, so we stretch- every day. We work out three days a week. What do I mean by work out? Running, push-ups, sit-ups, squats, wall-balls. I think that’s it, so far. We have just been doing two sets. We each start our timer and then stop it when we complete two rounds of the exercises for that day. It’s kind of like a mini- WOD (work out of the day). Of course, I plan on upping the reps and sets next week. Do more for longer. I know none of this is professional or anything, but at least we are moving. We are out in the sunshine and we are getting our blood pumping. That, to me, is the important thing.

As I told you in my last post, Lauren is our resident couch potato. I don’t know that she has ever “worked out” in all her almost 20 years of life. It is not really her thing. She has been to a few Refit (think Zumba) classes with me, but that’s about it. So, working out is out of her comfort zone. Thursday was a day full of “out of her comfort zone” things. Lauren had her annual allergy appointment Thursday afternoon. It was a workout day and so she did the workout that morning and got ready for her doctor appointment for the afternoon. Allergy appointments take several hours. They do blood work, scratch test, which is extremely uncomfortable, and discuss results and medications/treatments. Lot’s of decision making, especially with all of the health issues she deals with. Asthma, food allergies, and eczema, oh my! What made this appointment different is that for the last fifteen years she has been going to a different allergist, so this was a new office, new doctor, new staff, and she is considered an adult now. She is always nervous about all of the tests they run, but she was also going to be in the driver’s seat this time. They speak to her, ask her the questions, etc… She is used to Steve or me doing that. Growing pains. I am proud of her for taking charge, finding her voice, AND getting a workout in, on top of it all.

Michael has already begun his summer reading for school. He has two books he has to read and works data sheets to do on each. This is great considering last year we were cramming in his two books the last couple of weeks of summer! Don’t judge. It was a crazy summer. It snuck up on us, so we decided to be more intentional this summer and get it all done early. He has also been studying for the Alabama driver test to get his permit. He should be behind the wheel soon!

Steve and I took a bike ride (the Harley kind) down to Clanton Sunday afternoon. We just got on the highway and headed south. It was nice. I really enjoyed it. I don’t think we actually had a destination. We just rode. The next thing I knew, we were turning into Peach Park. We ate some peach cobbler, picked up some peaches and headed back home. (this was 2 days before we started Paleo, thank goodness, because that cobbler was delicious! ūüėČ It was fun to get out and just ride. We don’t do that often enough.

For the most part, our summer is starting out nicely. We have some decisions to make regarding Lauren’s health and mine (more on that later), but other than that, it has been a relaxing summer. Just the kind I like. I hope you are enjoying all the things of summer, too!

Uncategorized

Bierman Boot Camp

Michael has been asking over and over these past few months to “work out” over the summer. He said he wanted to eat healthier and build muscle. He is sixteen and skinny, just like his daddy was when he was his age. Michael has muscles, just not big ones. Noone in our family is on the tall side, so there is that, too. Steve told me that he used to work out and eat things to gain weight and get bigger to no avail and that Michael most likely will be the same. However, yesterday we all started on a little summer journey of getting healthier. Steve and I are both older and heavier than we used to be, so it will be good for us. Lauren is our resident bookworm/couch potato, so she could use some exercise, as well. She is home for the summer and none to pleased, but she is going along. As she says, she was “voluntold!” Michael and I are eating Paleo. Lauren already has a diet free of wheat, dairy, eggs, and nuts, so she is just continuing with that, although I would like for her to eat more fruits and vegetables and less sugar. Maybe we can get her to work on that.

I found a great little treasure at the bookstore that has made the food part of our journey quite simple. It is called Paleo In 28. The author explains the Paleo way of eating and has 4 weeks of meals with 5 ingredients or less recipes in her book. I’ve eaten this way before, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get back into the swing of things. It has been great having everything so conveniently planned out in a book, and so far the recipes we have tried are really tasty. Our first Paleo breakfast was a tropical green smoothie with spinach and some delicious organic frozen fruits. Now, Michael doesn’t like green smoothies and the one fruit he really doesn’t like are bananas, so I didn’t know if we would even get beyond breakfast, but he surprised me. He drank every bit of it and said it wasn’t too bad. Ha! Meal one down!

Before we made our smoothies, we went right outside and proceeded to do our first work out. All four of us participated. We went to the end of our cul de sac, started our timers and ran to the stop sign and back, did burpees, sit ups, and squats. We did two rounds. It wasn’t a lot, but it was a start. I don’t think Michael even broke a sweat, haha! The rest of us? Well, we did! I believe our son is stronger and in better shape than he thinks. We have decided to stretch every day and do a “work out” 3 days a week and see how that goes this summer. Our lunch was a cobb salad with a simple olive oil based lemon dressing. It was very filling. Our dinner was baked chicken tenders with spicy sweet potato fries. We snack on fresh fruit, and dried fruit and seeds. There are some delicious looking dessert recipes toward the back of the book that I am really looking forward to trying. Hopefully, by the end of the summer, Michael will have his bigger muscles, Lauren will be a little stronger, and Steve and I will be a little lighter. Between getting healthier, stronger, summer reading, learning to drive, and of course downtime of playing video games, and looking at all of the lightning bugs that fill our back yard on hot Alabama June nights, I think our summer is going to be super full and super fun!

special needs

I See You

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While contemplating what to write about this Mother’s Day, ¬†I have been thinking about all of the moms that I know that have special needs children and I want you to know that I see you. ¬†Really see you.

I see you – dressed casually with a ball cap on and a weary smile on your face as you walk up to the group of parents bringing their children to another youth function. ¬†You make kind small talk and give a hug to another mom that ¬†needs it. ¬†No one knows that you have had a hand full of hours of sleep over the last 4 days because your child’s health has been on a roller coaster. ¬†You get her stabilized but then continue to lay awake worrying about when she is older and how you may not be near her when she needs help and how it is all going to look. ¬†You’re the mom who always has a protein bar and a juice box in her purse, a thoughtful expression, and kind word for others even though, right now, you could really use a nap!

I see you – It’s field trip time and you are enduring the eye rolls and sneers of other parents as the teacher explains at the details meeting that they can bring any snack they want to eat on the bus, except for one with peanuts in it. ¬†You leave one more meeting wondering if one of those parents will decide that this is the time they will assert their God-given right to send peanuts for their child’s snack because it’s their favorite. ¬†Little do they know that your child is anaphylactic to 3 other foods, but you know you can’t and wouldn’t expect an entire class of kids to accommodate to that extent. ¬†You just pray A LOT and have taught your daughter to be keenly aware of her surroundings at ALL times and to use the stew out of baby wipes on seats and after she touches almost everything. ¬†Her life literally depends on it, but you know you can’t keep her in a bubble. ¬†Those parents ¬†weren’t with you when your daughter ate a spoonful of cereal that was cross-contaminated with peanuts and she started to go into anaphylactic shock. ¬†They didn’t see her eyes glaze over. ¬†They didn’t see her stop responding to you. ¬†They weren’t with you the first time you had to administer her epi-pen, antihistamine, and call 911 and pray that the reaction got stopped in time. ¬†They weren’t with you when you sat beside her at the hospital for hours praying that the numbers would go up and that the IV medicines the doctors used would work. ¬†The relief you felt as you were finally able to take her home was temporary, as each day you cannot let your guard down as you prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner, make an allergen free snack and try to make it ¬†comparable to the other kid’s food at a birthday party, youth function, etc… ¬†If you let your guard down that is when a mistake happens. ¬†You’re the mom that has allergen free communion wafers in her freezer for special Sundays and a look of compassion, instead of intolerance when others are in need of grace from a group you are a part of, because you have been there…you are there.

I see you – It’s a new day, but it looks like every day. ¬†You’ve overslept because you are so very tired and you forgot to wash his favorite bowl that he eats his cereal in. ¬†The same way, at the same spot, every morning. ¬†What’s the big deal. ¬†Well, now he is in the middle of a major melt down. ¬†There could be something else wrong too that you just haven’t figured out, but your brain is too foggy to figure it out at the moment because you were up with him most of the night, as he just could not sleep. He rarely gets more than 4 hours a night. ¬†While other 16 year olds are driving to school and talking about picking up their tux for prom, your 16-year-old struggles to function with the slightest deviation in their routine. ¬†He spends hours rocking back and forth, hitting himself in the head, and biting his hand to the point that it is raw and he is now on antibiotics for an infection that you know will also affect his gut that you have been working on relentlessly to try and heal. ¬†Anything to help him any way you can. ¬†You have done all of this research on your own, reading books from the library, reading articles by doctors, asking in online groups of other special needs moms what works for them. ¬†You are just trying to help him get relief from some of the anguish he is in every single day.

I see you – Sitting in yet another IEP meeting, being promised that everything is taken care of and all is in place. ¬†You are kind, soft-spoken, and pleasant, as always. ¬†You leave your frustration at home. ¬†You respond with understanding that it is baseball season and ¬†that the teacher is a coach. ¬†The teacher is a new mom and nursing. ¬†The teacher thought your child seemed good and didn’t need any help, and didn’t see the need to follow-up with you to see if this really is the case. ¬† I also see you, because you are so understanding, sitting up with your child every single night at the table doing homework for hours because assignments haven’t been reduced, as promised, ¬†and your child will work himself into oblivion to get it all done. ¬†I see you wondering when someone, anyone, will be understanding of his needs, when someone will recognize how hard he works all. of. the. time. ¬†You are the mom that the school knows when you walk through the door, or when they see your name on yet another email, not because you are demanding, not because you want to be a bother, not because you won’t let your child learn responsibility, but because sensory processing disorder and autism are real things and your child needs help and you are his advocate. ¬†So you continue to advocate, because you are a good mom.

I see you – standing and clapping, as tears stream down your face, watching your son bow during curtain call at the school musical. ¬†The people around you don’t know how hard you worked to get him to talk when he still didn’t speak at the age of 3, let alone sing. ¬†They don’t know how far he has come, how hard you have worked to get him there. ¬†You are the mom that has worked tirelessly to rid his body of toxins and fill it back up with vitamins, minerals, and supplements, to learn how to cook foods that don’t tax his system, so he can focus and function inside and outside of the classroom. ¬†You are the mom that is constantly researching all. of. the. things. to help your child be all that he can be.

I see you – scrolling on social media, a pit in your stomach as you read the angry rant of a “friend” that doesn’t know that it is you¬†they are posting that snarky meme about. ¬†You are that mom that has the audacity to question medical procedures. ¬†You are that mom that shouldn’t be allowed to take your child to the doctor for a broken arm, if you don’t just blindly trust and willing obey whatever you are told to do to your child in any other area. ¬†I see you hold your tongue, exhibit mass amounts of self-control and not defend yourself and genuinely hug that same person the next time you see them, recognizing that they don’t know the struggle. ¬†They don’t understand. ¬†They are not in the same situation and although it hurts when they attack, you love them anyway.

I see you and know that you wouldn’t do a thing differently. ¬†You just want to be the very best mother you can possibly be to your child. ¬†At the end of the day, you want them to know that you did everything you could to show them that you love them with every fiber of your being and that you are there for them, would go to the ends of the earth for them, just like any other mother who loves their child.

I just want you to know that I see you Рthe mother of a special needs child.  I see the hours that you put in, day after day.  The sleepless nights.  The concern for their future.   I see that you are tired and sometimes you feel discouraged because sometimes the day just feels like Mount Everest!  Know that you are seen, you are loved, and you are a good mom.

Happy Mother’s Day

health and wellness, Uncategorized

Elderberry Syrup

 

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I had a make and take at the house a few weeks ago. ¬†We had so much fun catching up with each other and talking health and wellness. ¬†We made elderberry syrup. ¬†I had been to a friend’s house last year and watched her make some. ¬†That is when I started taking a teaspoon every day. ¬†Elderberries are rich in minerals and vitamins. They are also a great source of dietary fiber.

What are some reasons to take elderberry syrup?

  • to keep your immune system strong
  • for improved bowel function
  • to build your immune system back up after an illness
  • to help shorten the duration of an illness

According to medicalnewstoday.com, a cup of elderberries contains the following vitamins and minerals: 870 milligrams of vitamin A, 406 milligrams of potassium, 52.2 milligrams of vitamin C, 9 milligrams of folate, 55 milligrams of calcium, and 2.32 milligrams of iron.

I purchased a 1 pound bag of freeze-dried elderberries and some raw honey.  I also set out several Young Living vitality oils to add in for extra support.  It is really easy.  I loosely followed a recipe from thedroppery.com. I will post what I did below and also the link to the recipe I followed.

Here is what I used:

1 cup of elderberries

4 cups of purified water (I have a Berkey)

2 tsp raw honey or maple syrup (add more or less to taste)

Young Living vitality oils ¬†(orange, lemon, thieves, clove, ginger, cinnamon, etc…)

Why put Young Living vitality essential oils in?

Well for one, flavor.  If you want a kick, you could put in cinnamon, clove, or thieves.  If you would like for it to have a citrus flavor, orange or lemon would be good.  Another reason to add vitality essential oils is for the added health benefit.  Clove, for instance, is a super strong antioxidant, so it is a great immune system support.  Cinnamon is high in trans-cinnamaldehyde.  Research it.  Good stuff.  Lemon is a great source of vitamin C and D-limonene.  Orange is another immune system boosting oil.

 

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Instructions:

  1. Add 1 cup of elderberries to 4 cups of boiling water.
  2. Simmer on stove for 45 minutes until the liquid has been reduced by half.
  3. Remove from the stove and allow to cool until just warm enough for the honey to melt.  This will preserve the properties of the honey and essential oils.
  4. Strain berries through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Pour into glass containers. (We used 8 ounce mason jars)
  6. Add in honey (or maple syrup, if using) and vitality essential oils
  7. Enjoy!

Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh. Adults take 1 tsp a day, children 1/2 tsp a day.

 

 

Here is the link to the recipe that was used at the first elderberry making class I went to.

https://www.thedroppery.com/blog/essential-elderberry-syrup?rq=elderberry%20syrup

 

Uncategorized

Instant Pot Turkey Meatballs

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Any chance I get to try a new healthy recipe, I do.  Sometimes it is a hit and sometimes it is a dud.  Obviously, since I am sharing this one, it was a hit!  These are delicious! Yay!

We put these meatballs over allergen free pasta with allergen free sauce. ¬†I did use an egg in the meatball recipe, so it wasn’t Lauren friendly, but I think it could be left out or maybe Egg Replacer used, instead. ¬†I will try that when she is home.

This recipe is wheat, dairy, and nut free.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey                                                      1 tsp Himalayan pink salt

1 egg                                                                               3/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8 c brown rice flour                                                 1 jar Muir Glen Pasta sauce

1/8 c coconut flour                                                       1 bag Tinkyada brown rice spaghetti

1 tsp dried parsley                                                       1/4 to 1/3 c water

Instructions: 

Combine ground turkey, egg, spices, and flours together in a bowl.  Using your hands, mix well.  Form into 1 inch balls and set aside.

Pour jar of sauce into your Instant Pot.  Drop meatballs into the sauce. Pour water over meatballs, just enough to cover.  Secure the lid and turn valve to seal.  Use the manual mode of Instant Pot and set to pressure cook for 10 minutes. While the meatballs are cooking, cook your pasta.  When the Instant Pot cycle is complete, allow pressure to release naturally.   Serve over meatballs and sauce over pasta.

Enjoy!