I love sugar!

Did you know that *some* people have a sensitivity to sugar?

Did you know that if you have this sugar sensitivity it affects your body like an addiction?

Did you know that a sugar sensitivity can make you moody? It can even lead to depression.

Did you know that kids can be addicted to sugar too?

 

I am learning all of these things with GREAT interest in the book, Potatoes Not Prozac, by Kathleen DesMaisons. Dr. DesMaisons has a website called Radiant Recovery in which she describes alot of her ideas, too! (including the 7 steps she suggests towards eliminating the sugar AND the 7 steps for children!) Side note: I have found that we are already doing some of these steps in our recent journeys to eating healthier, so I’m not exactly doing things *exactly* as she has written, but at this point I am trying to increase protein intake AND make sure I’m eating protein at every meal!

Over on the Homeschool Share boards a mom has mentioned going sugar free and what that has looked like in their household. (By the way, she does have alot of great info on her blog, too! Check it out, recipes too!) When Kendra mentioned some of the attitudes and behaviors in her household that were caused by a sugar sensitivity, my ears (or eyes rather) perked up. Her grumpiness, moodiness not to mention whiny, crying children sounded an awful lot like our household!!

So, I began a bit of research on my own. Kendra suggests a book called Little Sugar Addicts by the same author, Kathleen DesMaisons. Unfortunately, our library did not have that book. But it DID have the book I mentioned above…which is more directed towards adults. I got the book from the library yesterday and today I have read half of it. The book describes me to a T. I have read this book with great enthusiasm thinking that maybe, just maybe this could really help and improve our own household.

So, of course, with all this excitement I wanted to share this book with my readers. I really, REALLY think that after reading the chapters in this book that there are MORE people that have these issues with sugar than realize it! Sugar is addicting just like alcohol! That should scare us and really make us take notice of what we are putting into our bodies!

Along with the book I am reading, I have been doing a lot of googling. 🙂 I’ve bought 2 natural sweeteners called Agave Nectar and Stevia. These are natural sweeteners that you can use to replace your sugar. I am in the process of trying them out right now. As I find recipes that taste good and are healthy, I will share them here too. Last night I made our first batch of banana bread/muffins and they turned out great! (recipe to come…)

I admit, I am pretty hopeful that this is going to help me. I am so tired of the negativity, bad moods, irritability and days of being down. I know that if I’m eating healthier, it will help me feel better overall. And, just reading the descriptions in the book of those with sugar sensitivities really leads me to believe this could be me.

A very recent example that comes to mind is from last week when we went to Gatlinburg. We had Krispy Kreme donuts the first night we went up there after supper for a treat. Well, that next day, I felt worse than I have felt in a long time. Really bad. I am thinking it was all that sugar!!

For now, I am not eliminating sugar in every single thing we eat – for instance, our peanut butter is natural and does NOT have high fructose corn syrup in it, but it DOES have sugar. For now, we are sticking with our peanut butter. I will be trying to bake a little bit more – with healthy whole wheat (freshly ground for that matter!) flour – muffins, bread, pancakes, waffles. I will be replacing that sugar with either agave nectar, stevia or maple syrup, depending on the recipe. I still have not figured out honey yet…I think I will still end up using that some, too.

I am going to be writing down what I’m eating to make sure I’m getting enough protein.

The hardest part for me will be NO SWEETS. These banana muffins I made are actually pretty good…I’m hoping that as I replace our sugar, I will also find foods that taste “sweet” to me (and satisfy that craving) while are healthier at the same time. Ultimately I’d love to stop craving the foods all together! (a girl can dream, right?)

So, is anyone else on this journey? Any tips? Any recipes? Any books to suggest? I’d love to hear from you!!

Real Food

The past few weeks I’ve been reading a book called Real Food, by Nina Planck. If you are interested in moving your family’s eating habits into a more healthy direction, I highly recommend this book! It has been easy to read and VERY eye opening!! It is quite scary to think about some of the foods our country has gotten used to eating…and the fact that we don’t even know WHAT all we are putting into our bodies!!

Real Food: What to Eat and Why

Over the past few years I have had times of moving towards eating healthier and it usually ends up being a phase and ends up being too hard for whatever reason. Well, this time I’m making some big changes and I hope they are going to last!

You may remember when I got my Nutrimill about 2 years ago, well…since then I think I’ve burned through 2-3 bread machines and have no way to make my bread now, so I’ve gotten out of that habit. I have been still using the soft white flour for things like muffins, pancakes, cookies, etc. But, I’m working on convincing David to let me buy a Bosch very soon so that I can get back to that! (yikes, these things sure are expensive!)

Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine

Some other changes that the book Real Food encourages that we hope to be making very soon are:

*buying local grass-fed meat (we just happened upon a very local source this week through some friends of ours! Yay!)

*buying local milk, cheese (haven ‘t found a source for this yet, anyone know?)

*local produce (and eating MORE of it!)

*local eggs that are free-range, no hormones, no anti-biotics (found a source for these and need to call them today!)

*no more High fructose corn syrup (I’ve slowly eliminated this from our diet over the months, but there are still a few convenience foods I need to get rid of, that will be the hardest change!!)

*good fats – not eliminating all fat, as some are good for you…

*real butter, olive oil, coconut oil

*no more white flour or white sugar (I’ve been making muffins/pancakes/cookies with my freshly ground soft white flour for awhile, so this won’t be too new/hard)

So…in looking for ways to cook things, recipes to try and just helpful hints, I have found a blog that is SUPER helpful…she is knowledgable, fun and easy to read and has SO MUCH information on her blog! Kelly the Kitchen Kop is a FABULOUS resource for getting started on this route…look at the top of her blog and you will see categories to link on, I’ve been reading through all of those! Click on the recipes and you can find healthy recipes in every category of meal/food item. VERY helpful!!

So, how many of you are on this journey with me to healthier (and more traditional) eating? Eating real foods the way God intended them to be eaten and made? I’m excited and would love to hear from you…any tips? Any recipes? Any books or websites you love? I hope to share more in the future too, as we learn and try new things.

My Grace is Sufficient

As I have been studying and praying about my word of the year, compassion, it seems that I have found myself more and more without compassion.

I don’t think it is any mistake that the Lord would have me choose this word, and then right along with that word, have me start the study Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell. Through these 2 things (my word of the year and the book) the Lord is showing me more and more ways that I am not like Him. That I’m not compassionate. That I’m not meek and quiet. I admit, it has been discouraging. I feel like I’ve been even less meek and quiet with my children lately. (read that: harsh and angry.) I have been down. Frustrated and angry with myself for not being able to change myself or snap out of it.

You know what I have been forgetting these past few weeks?

“Three times I pleased with the Lord to take it away from me. But, he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Cor. 12:9.

I admit, I find it hard to boast in my weaknesses. I would much rather they go away! I have been struggling greatly with my oldest child lately. I have asked a few people to be praying for me…that I can be patient with her (because I haven’t been) and that I could be full of grace towards her (because I haven’t) and that I can love her. I love my children. But at times, my actions don’t show it.

But, God’s word tells me to boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses. You know what? I am weak. I am harsh with her. I’m not patient with her like I could be. We have good moments, but in my mind, the bad outweigh the good at this point in time.

Again, God reminds me that I’ve been looking to myself. I’ve been forgetting that His grace really is sufficient. His power rests on me when I acknowledge, and even boast, in my weaknesses. I can be thankful that God has shown me my weakness because now His power can shine through.

In the book I’m reading, Teri Maxwell reminds us of the power of God’s Word. She reminds us not to neglect that time with Him. When I’m angry, go to Him. When I’m frustrated beyond words, go to Him. When I’m upset that I’ve missed the mark one more time, go to Him. “Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

God ordained that I be reading this book at this exact point in my parenting journey. He knew just what I needed. And Teri reminds of that in her book:

“I know there were plenty of other activities I could have done over the past 15 years during that half-hour I spent with the Lord. We could have done more schooling, had a cleaner house, more fun playtimes, more ministry, more individual time with each child, more sewing, more exercise, or more sleep! I look back over all those years and all the choices set before me as to how to use those hours. I know there is nothing that could have had the impact on my life, and the lives of my family members, than time with the Lord. This is particularly true in the realm of a meek and quiet spirit. Any other decision for that time would have been one more robber of a meek and quiet spirit. However, time with the Lord is the opposite. It was the one “needful” thing for me. It was a meek and quiet spirit builder!”

I am thankful for today that God has reminded me (once again) that His grace truly is sufficient for me. His grace is sufficient for my parenting struggles. His grace is sufficient for my lack of wisdom. His grace is sufficient for those times I speak harshly to my children. His grace covers me. His power rests on me when I trust in HIS power and not my own. I’m so thankful that though I am weak, so very weak…He is strong!

Jesus loves me this I know
for the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
they are weak but HE IS STRONG.

Compassion, Meekness, Quietness, Kindness

The words I listed in the title of my post have all had an impact on me in the past week. I am learning that as I choose to focus on this thing called “compassion” the Lord is showing me that so many of the words and qualities are all intertwined. In the original verse I chose to memorize, Col. 3:12, compassion is mentioned right alongside kindness, gentlness, humility, patience…all things, if I were to be completely honest, that I need more of in my life!
This week I have begun a book study with a small group of ladies from an online message board. The book is called Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell. I have read this book (well half of it) before and really, really thought it was very good, practical and encouraging. Teri Maxwell shares some of her own experiences where the Lord showed her that she was lacking in meekness and quietness. She shares scriptures and practical help for those of us who are also seeking these qualities.

 

So, as I have been continuing to focus on compassion, while also starting this book on being meek and quiet, I am seeing how much they all go together! And if I were to be completely honest and blunt with you, I would also say that up to this point I have had serious doubts that these changes could even happen in me.Therefore, as of today, I am claiming a verse over this study and over this area in my life. A verse that I have read so many times throughout my lifetime, but still brings such encouragement.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13.

And another verse that I am going to cling to as well:

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Cor. 9:8.

I looked up some synonyms of compassion: charity, pity, condolence, kindness, leniency, mercy, tenderness. All things that I desire to be. I have also looked up the definitions for meek: mild temper, soft, gentle, not easily irritated. And quiet: peaceable, not turbulent, not giving offense, mild, meek, content.

Well, right away I notice a few (or maybe a LOT) of things that I am NOT. I’m not always kind, I am not always tender and gentle. I am actually quite easily irritated. And I’m not always content either. It looks like I have alot of work to do. Or, should I say, it looks like God has so much to do in me. He has such a difficult job being my Father, the molder of my heart. Praise God that nothing is impossible (or difficult) with Him! I am praying, though, that I would open myself up to His changing power. I want Him to do this in me so badly that I can taste it. However, I know that the responsibility does not lie with Him alone. He has the power, I have to be ready, willing and able for it.

For the past few weeks I have been looking up scriptures with the words compassion, meek and quiet in them. Here are the ones that have stood out to me the most.

“Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert.” Neh. 9:19.

“But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven and in your compassion you delivered them time after time.” Neh. 9:28.

“Praise the Lord…who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” Psalm 103:4

“when Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion for these people…” Matthew 14:14.

“…the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received.” 2 Cor. 1:3.

“He leads me beside quiet waters…” Psalm 23:2

“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet, than a house full of feasting and strife.” Prov. 17:1.

“He will quiet you with His love…” Zeph. 3:17

“The one I esteem is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” Isaiah 66:2.

“But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.” Psalm 37:11

Oh Father, You show me so much through Your Word. So much so that at times (like now) I am completely overwhelmed with my own inadequacies. Yet, more than my own shortcomings, Your character and Your will for me shine through. You are the God of compassion, a Father to the fatherless. Jesus had compassion as soon as He saw people everywhere He went. I want that. I want my attitude to be like His. But, God, you are going to have to come into my heart and just do a complete makeover. I trust You, though. I trust You completely. I want to yield myself to You and allow You to do Your thing. Work in me. Change me. Mold me. Amen.

Uncharted

Friends, I come to you today with a heartfelt recommendation that you read this book, Uncharted, by Angela Hunt. This book is going to the very, tip-top of my MUST READ book list of all time!! I can say without a doubt that I have never read anything like it. This book was so good that I read it very quickly, but the images…the story…the things I have read about will stay with me forever. You might call this story a parable. This book tells the story of our lives with such amazing creativity that I can’t even find words to adequately describe it!

I also don’t really even want to tell you what it is about because mentioning the very subject of the book would ruin the story for you!! So, all I can say is PLEASE read it!!

Here is what Publisher’s Weekly has to say about this book, “…a blend of the movies Castaway and The Big Chill, with a touch of the television series, Lost, creatively thrown together with the biblical story of the beggar Lazarus and C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce.”

It is moving. It is emotional. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. And…I believe, God can use the story presented in this book to change you.

(note: this is a book I picked up from our church library and wanted to read on my own, it’s not written for any of my reviews.)

UPDATE: Ladies, I’m sorry to be so mysterious! LOL! I’m not doing it on purpose…but am glad that you guys are taking my advice and looking for the book! My guess is your city library might carry it too, ours has several of her books. I’m serious when I say that I could give you a one word description of the book…but for me, I think it would have ruined the suspense. So, I’ll just have to be mysterious this time!!