I love home grown foods, I love flowers, and essential oils are becoming pretty exciting to me, I'm a professional doula, I try to cut out most of the high fructose corn syrup in our diets, and I attempt to eat healthy, and give my children healthy options. I feel good with my feet on the grass, I wear my babies until they get too heavy, I birth naturally, I just love a lot about the way that God created earth and feel like getting back to the way things were before preservatives and other things started tampering with out foods.
But am I crunchy? Is that still the term? I think it is.
I don't get on the websites with all the women who claim they are. I don't like being nagged (not that they all do) by others on how best to be healthy... I don't seek out all the organic foods when shopping... but I do have a healthy dose of reality when it comes to the foods that go into our mouths
When I was growing up I had terrible belly cramps and was borderline constipated almost all the time. No one knew why that was. I remember it from as young as about 5 years old. I also remember having terrible pains in my legs (growing pains they say). The pain in my belly always came at dinner time. I would be fine and then I'd sit down for dinner and just as we finished eating, or even a few minutes later than that I'd get terrible cramping in my belly that made me want to cry. My mom would tell me to go to the bathroom, I would go, and I'd just cry. I honestly don't know if I knew what I was supposed to do in the bathroom, or if I just knew that sitting on the toilet wouldn't help me, but I'd spend the time crying about how badly my belly hurt. I thought I was supposed to hide my tears, so I didn't cry in front of anyone about my belly pain.
My mom on the other hand didn't know or realize how severe it was, and thought I was just trying to get out of doing my chores (helping my sister to wash dishes by rinsing and drying them). It would have been a good idea I suppose if it were true, but I wasn't trying to get out of doing my job, I was in pain.
Fast forward to middle school, I had been home schooled for 4th, 5th and 6th grade and then returned to public school in 7th grade, my diet changed from regular meals cooked by my mother and water whenever I wanted it, to school lunches with chocolate milk and a sip or two of water between classes if I had the time to stop by a drinking fountain. I found that the belly aches were coming back again. I remember having them occasionally before this point, but it was when I entered the 7th grade that they got really bad again.
What was different? MILK! I had belly aches regularly when in kindergarten through 2nd grade, but then stopped having them most of the time once I was in 3rd grade through 6th grade. What was different in 3rd grade? Only the kind of milk I was drinking.
Just before 3rd grade my family moved next door to my dairy farming grandparents and started getting some of our milk from them. The milk we got from them was pretty much straight out of the cow, my grandmother would remove the cream from the top and put it in the refrigerator and we'd drink it anytime we wanted. I wasn't a big fan of the taste of milk to be honest and usually only had it at school or with pancakes (which we ate a lot of). But this milk was whole milk, un-tampered. And then when I was home schooled I spent more time with my grandparents and eating their farm fresh foods and drinking the whole milk they had available when I felt like having a glass. I didn't get belly aches as often, though I still would occasionally.
In 7th grade I had little time to spend with my grand parents and didn't drink the milk they had, nor did I drink much water either, I was mostly dehydrated the rest of my school days. I of course had no idea at the time. And I would drink chocolate milk at lunch time. And then in the class immediately following lunch I would have such terrible belly cramps that I would have to curl myself into a ball, or even to my own horror lay across a chair to put pressure on my stomach. I spoke to my teacher about these awful belly pains and he agree'd that I could sit in the back of the class so that no one would notice me wiggling in pain, or acting weirdly by laying across my chair.
I told my mom about the pains and she took me seriously this time, knowing I wasn't trying to get out of anything this time. Someone suggested I might have a milk sensitivity, it seemed weird that I might, but mom was willing to give it a try. I cut out milk from my diet and the pains substantially went away, but not entirely. I now didn't have to lay across my chair in science, so at least that was good, but I did feel the need to sit with my legs drawn to my stomach at least a few times a week at different times of day. I realize now that I was compounding a problem I had with milk by not replacing my milk with water... and drinking far more of it than I had previously.
Now fast forward to me in my 30's with three children.
My first son seemed to have difficulty getting a regular consistency to his bowel movements when he was a toddler but eventually out grew it and was fine, my daughter on the other hand regularly struggled with constipation, which since I am familiar with I helped her to move past this by cutting out milks in her diet and giving her a formula that was for sensitive tummies when she was still small enough to need formula (breast feeding sadly didn't work out with her), and her problem cleared up rather well. My youngest though has the same trouble as my oldest, very loose stools, but then they started getting worse, and smelling like acid or vomit. I spoke to the pediatrician about it and they suggested that it 'could' be a bacterial problem, or that it was just 'his normal'. I don't think anyone should have so much acid running through their system and it be called 'normal'. I started him on a pro-biotic, it helped a little. His poops stopped smelling as badly and started getting a little bit more firm. But then the progress stopped and even slightly reverted. I spoke to the doctor again, they didn't have anything new to say.
Then I spoke to my chiropractor and a lady at the health food store where I buy the pro-biotics. The lady at the health food store suggested trying a glutten free diet for 3 months. I asked the chiropractor about it and he reluctantly (at first) said maybe it would be a good idea to try it and see if it helps.
Here is my understanding of glutten in people who are sensitive to it. Basically it irritates the bowels, they don't absorb it or other things the way they should and try to eliminate it as quickly as possible... quite potentially causing acidic diarrhea. This is a simplistic and not well researched method of explaining the way my son may possible be dealing with glutten in his diet.
So I've been working for about a month to get rid of all the glutten in our house. I'm not completely done with this process, but we are about 90% glutten free in our diets, and I try very hard to be sure that at least my youngest doesn't get it when he is eating.
What is the trickiest thing about changing your diet? Changing your habits! We hurriedly got ready for church yesterday and I was longingly thinking of breakfast and the thought occrured to me that there is doughnuts at church. The children ate breakfast, my husband might have gotten a bowl of cereal I'm not sure, but I do know I didn't get a bite before getting to the church. We ran right over to the doughnuts. After taking the last bite of my delicious fried plain doughnut, I suddenly realized that I was eating a food full of glutten... FAIL. Not only was I eating it, but sitting on my lap was my son who I am most adamant about not having glutten more than three quarters of the way through his own sticky glazed doughnut, and my daughter who I'm moderately concerned about having glutten (for eczema) more than half way through her chocolate frosting covered doughnut, and my oldest son just about to take one of the last bites of his glazed doughnut... FAIL! I look up at my husband as he has already finished his delicious treat and say "we are the dumbest parents on the planet." The realization hits him and he laughs "yup, we are."
And for lunch we go to steak n shake, where we carefully order things that though not really listed on the menu the way we ordered them are glutten free. My husband orders loaded fries and a bowl of chili.. a heart attack on a plate he calls it. But it comes with crackers, and he deftly takes a few from the package and pops them in his mouth and then hands a few to our son who is crying out for them.... I notice just as he pops the few crackers daddy gave him into his mouth and chews them down. UGH.... It is a habit... not an accident per-say, it is just what you do when your toddler is crying in a restaurant, give them crackers...
So no. I'm not crunchy, but yes I'm going to do all that I can to help my children when they run into problems with their poor bodies. I struggled with belly pain far too long to let my kids struggle with these things.
So currently we are a light on the milk, glutten free (attempting) peanut free (daughter has an allergy), no high fructose corn syrup, fresh or frozen fruits and veggies kind of family.... and it is HARD!!! But I'm hoping it is absolutely worth it, an even if it is not I feel like it is worth it to try.