November 15, 2010 § 1 Comment
Not. It’s not funny at all. As you may have inferred from the title, I’m talking about diarrhea, folks.
Ugh, I know, I’d honestly prefer not to have to write about this, but my husband has been sick off and on since Thursday night, and Peter just started with it last night. I’ve been spared so far, but I can only imagine that my misery is right around the corner. (And right about now my husband is probably planning to divorce me for discussing his intestinal disorders on the internet yet again. Sorry, dear.)
We were away this weekend to take part in my sister-in-law’s utterly magnificent wedding (congrats Ange & Brian!) (Pete got through the weekend as best as he could, poor guy). We got home late last night, so first thing this morning I hit the books to accumulate a list of natural remedies for fighting this most unpleasant illness.
Since my boys aren’t the only ones in the world battling a stomach bug, I thought I’d share what I’ve found with the hope that one or more of the tips might relieve you or your loved ones who are plagued with a bug:
From Food and Healing, p. 279, by Annmarie Colbin
“There are two very effective old remedies…
- cooked white rice;
- grated apple with skin, allowed to turn brown”
From Healing with Whole Foods, Third Edition, p 383, by Paul Pitchford
“General remedies for all types of diarrhea:
- rice or barley broth (this would be the water in which you cook the rice or barley. Boil 1/2 c rice in 3 cups water for 45 minutes. Drain rice, reserving water in a bowl or cup. Drink throughout the day. Also eat the rice. - pwa)
- blackberry juice
- garlic (especially good for diarrhea from bacterial contamination) (I am currently eating a clove of raw garlic as a preventative measure – pwa)
- string bean
- sunflower seed
- umeboshi plum
- crab apple*
- aduki bean
- sweet rice
- button mushroom
*These foods are considered “obstructive” and tend to retard the flows and movements in the body.”
From the above list, you could make a tasty, beneficial soup from rice broth (maybe mixed with vegetable broth), minced garlic, cooked rice, cooked aduki beans, diced carrots and button mushrooms.
From Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing, Third Edition, p. 327, by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
- “Do not drink apple juice, as this can make diarrhea worse.
- Avoid high fiber food, which may stress the digestive system. Instead, stick to foods that are easy to digest, such as cooked potatoes, rice, bananas, applesauce, or toast.
- Do not consume any dairy products (except for low-fat soured products.) They are highly allergenic. Moreover, diarrhea causes a temporary loss of the enzyme needed to digest lactose (milk sugar). Limit your intake of fats and foods containing gluten, including barley, oats, rye and wheat. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods.”
And from the purewellnessamy department of common sense: STAY HYDRATED. Sip water, warm herbal tea (ginger root or peppermint are good choices), carrot juice, or rice, chicken, and/or vegetable broth. I hesitate to add flat soda to the list because I am staunchly anti-soda, but I do realize that the old-school flat ginger ale remedy appeals to a lot of people. So, if it will make you feel better, go ahead and drink it.
Peter has gone into the refrigerator twice this morning to take out his container of plain yogurt. I respected his body’s request for this and gave him two small bowls along with some grated brown apple. I think it’s kind of amazing that he is craving yogurt — a food rich with healing probiotics. It is a dairy product, but it is a “soured product” that was said to be acceptable in Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing.
Generally, diarrhea simply needs to run its course. But if you or your child is sick for more than 3 or 4 days, you should call your doctor. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child has:
- a high fever (over 101 degrees)
- blood in the stool
- stool that looks like black tar
- severe rectal or abdominal pain
- signs of dehydration, such as wrinkled skin, excessively dry mouth, or if there is no urination in any 8-hour period.
If your baby has diarrhea, be safe and contact your pediatrician immediately. Babies quickly become dehydrated and should be closely monitored.
Finally, if you’re feeling a little sore in a certain area, try using moistened wipes instead of toilet paper.
I now have to go attend to my sick little buddy. I plan to administer this old remedy: lots of Mommy cuddles, hugs and kisses. Along with a cup of rice broth.
October 31, 2010 § 2 Comments
Halloween: A Retrospective:
This year we’re handing out Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops to our lucky trick-or-treaters (updated: to my husband’s horror and embarrassment)!
Here’s why I decided to make these our Halloween treat:
- certified organic
- no chemical dyes
- 100% natural colors and flavors
- real fruit extracts
- 100% vegan
- no corn syrup
- soy free
- gluten free
- dairy free
- nut free
And, yes, they are delicious!
Have a fun, safe, and spooky time with your little goblin, witch or Spiderman!
October 14, 2010 § 1 Comment
1. our dine ‘n play room (dining room/play room. It’s awesome. Everyone should have one.)
2. that I can’t name more than 4 types of fruit (Really, Amy? How about cherries, peaches, plums, pineapples, nectarines, apricots…)
3. that my son will be joining the ranks of Robert Plant and Steven Tyler someday. (Can you see that vein pulsing in his neck? What he lacks in tone he makes up for in passion. Brilliant.)
4. that said son was given a blueberry dum-dum lollypop at SuperCuts which has stained his mouth indefinitely.
October 10, 2010 § 7 Comments
If it seemed like I was weeping while I wrote recent posts about Peter, it’s because I was. And while I’m not crying now, I did shed a few tears after we turned his crib into a toddler bed yesterday morning:
It’s just that SO much is changing now, it’s a bit jarring. He’s changing every day and I can barely keep up with him, nevermind document all the ways he’s changing.
He was a pretty uneventful baby. He nursed like a champ. He rarely put things in his mouth. He didn’t start crawling until he was 11 months old. He didn’t walk until he was 16 months old. He stayed out of the kitchen cabinets. He never played in the toilet. His infant calendar is mostly blank because homeboy didn’t do anything until he was 6 months old, when he started growing some teeth. Even that was a little boring, frankly, since he didn’t have teething pain or anything.
I am not complaining. I think we’ve had it pretty easy with him and I’m so unbelievably grateful. There are definitely more good times than bad times with this kid.
I guess I’m feeling so weepy because I know now that my baby days are over. My baby is now–after a ridiculously quick 3 years–no longer a baby. And we’re not having another baby. Most of the time I’m ok with that fact, but sometimes I feel really sad when I realize that my body will never again produce another human being. Imagining my shriveled ovaries makes me feel old. Which I am, and that’s never fun to think about, right?
Ahhh, blah, blah, blah….enough with the mid-life crisis, Amy Anyway, after a wonderful day at the park, we came home and I made this Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili served in Pumpkin Bowls (thanks to Angela at Oh She Glows and Emily at The Front Burner for sharing this recipe).
Emily’s Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili in Pumpkin Bowls
- 3 mini [sugar] pumpkins *
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small butternut squash, cubed *
- 2 cups black beans (1 lg can), drained and rinsed
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp chili powder (or more to taste)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- Sea salt, Spicy Herbamare, and pepper to taste
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take mini pumpkin and slice the top off about 3/4 of the way up. Scoop out insides of the pumpkin using a grapefruit spoon. This part takes a long time- about 10 minutes per pumpkin so budget your time wisely. Save and rinse the pumpkin seeds to roast them with some olive oil and salt if desired. When your pumpkins are empty and cleaned out, brush the insides with olive oil and sprinkle on sea salt and ground pepper to your heart’s content. You will be eating the pumpkin flesh so you want it to taste delicious! Now pop your pumpkins onto a baking pan and into the oven for 30 minutes. While they are roasting in the oven, make the chili. In a large pot, add the oil and turn heat to medium. Add chopped onion and minced garlic and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes or so. Reduce heat if necessary to avoid burning. Now add the chopped pepper and butternut squash. Cook for about 12-15 minutes. Now add in the drained and rinsed beans, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika, vegetable broth, and S & P and stir well. Simmer on low-medium for another 5 minutes. Now remove your pumpkins from the oven and fill the bowls 3/4 of the way full. Place pumpkins carefully back into the oven (again without top) and bake for another 30 minutes. Once they are cooked, turn oven off and leave pumpkins in the oven with lid on to stay warm. They will stay hot in the oven for another hour if necessary.
*A tip for preparing squash/pumpkins: Place the whole squash on a baking sheet and put it in the oven while it’s preheating (about 10 minutes). This will soften the squash a bit to make cutting through the beautiful monster easier. I’ve used this method on acorn squash, mini pumpkins and a medium-sized butternut squash and I found that cutting is much, much easier.
I followed this recipe exactly to serve 3 people, but I had a bunch of chili that wouldn’t fit into my pumpkins! I must have bought super-mini pumpkins. I’m fine with the leftovers, though, as I plan on serving them over quinoa and topping the dish with roasted pumpkin seeds. I’m psyched for lunch!
So, I mentioned in the title of this post that the chili was beautiful, but potent. Yeah, about that. I was fine and Peter was fine, but my poor husband, well, let’s just say that he was primed for a colonoscopy when all was said and done. I felt so bad. I don’t know what happened. It wasn’t that spicy. I blame the combination of Alka Seltzer (he took it earlier in the night for his allergies), a pumpkin beer and chili powder. He does have a history of reacting badly to spicy food. I’m sharing this just to warn you that if you or your loved one is a wuss has a sensitive belly, you may want to dial back the spices. (But it really wasn’t that spicy. I’m just sayin’.)
September 22, 2010 § 8 Comments
Right down to the food-stained sweater:
Yes, Peter thinks his new iPad is nothing more than a “game” that, to his newfound delight, also plays Thomas the Train and Curious George videos.
Every 3-year-old needs an iPad, right? Right? OK, I’ll admit that it was a bit pricey for a 3 year old’s birthday gift, but there are a ton of free educational apps and it’s amazing how quickly Peter picked up on how to use it. This thing is freakishly intuitive. I’m afraid that he’ll soon start looking like a mad conductor, thinking that the world works like an iPad – swooshing his fingers in the air trying to change a red stop light to green, or attempting to pinch and slide a bag of M -n- Ms into our Target cart. It will be a sad case of the realities when he finds out that life cannot be pinched, widened and slid around like the “games” on an iPad!
Oh, and I’ll be using it as well to manage the zillion pictures I take each week. So it was a happy birthday for the two of us Make that the three of us. Pete just emerged from his office to mess around with the new ‘Pad.
Even though it was in the 90s today, I’m thinking of crock pot recipes. I’ll post the good ones here. Feel free to share any that you love in the comments section :-)
September 21, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Peter’s school throws a birthday party for each child on the class day nearest to his or her birthday. So, today is Peter’s first school birthday party! And that requires me to provide the snack for the day.
I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the days of bringing birthday cupcakes to school are over. It says so right in the school’s handbook. You see, those cupcakes may contain peanuts, eggs, dairy, wheat, gluten, chocolate, and for all we know, mad cow disease. Cupcakes and birthday cakes are forbidden at many schools now since they may contain potential allergens.
I take allergies very seriously. My niece has a peanut allergy and because of that I held off giving nuts to Peter until just a few months ago. Thankfully he is not allergic, which makes snack time so much easier now that I can give him the nut-filled Lara bars that I am addicted to often eat. Being a student of nutrition, I am confounded by the number and types of allergies kids have these days. I just don’t get it. Searching the web brings up an array of theories, none of which provide a definitive explanation. But, that topic can be a post (or book) on its own.
I wanted to bring a snack a little more festive than a box of Goldfish crackers, so today’s post is about the wacky, but hopefully allergen-free, ”cupcakes” I made for Peter’s class this morning. I got the idea from Angela at Oh She Glows . (Thanks, Angela!)
I made a “frosting” by combining sunflower seed butter and brown rice syrup fluff:
Cored and halved organic apples:
Plopped the “frosting” on the apple halves and jazzed them up by topping them with carob chips:
(I apologize for the horrendous pictures. I was running very late this morning.)
OK, so this version tastes…fine. However, when I make them for us at home, I’ll definitely use the peanut butter and fluff “frosting” with real dark chocolate chips version. Peter liked both versions, actually. Regardless of the version, I think it is a cute idea and it will be fun to experiment with different types of “frosting.”
I’m off to pick up Peter from school. We’ll see how well these “cupcakes” went over with the rest of the class!
September 20, 2010 § 10 Comments
Three years ago today, at 11 a.m., this:
turned into this:
(If you want to read the birth story, you can check out my husband’s blog post. Yes, he blogged my entire labor and delivery.)
For a while there, I was doubtful that we’d have a baby. Once we were married in 2004, we didn’t prevent pregnancy. When 2006 rolled around, I started to contemplate adoption. I felt that fertility treatments just weren’t for me.
In October 2006, I woke up one morning with tingling feet. It felt like they were asleep, but walking around and massaging them didn’t wake them up. As the days went by, they became more painful and I had some difficulty walking. I felt like my brain had short circuited and was not able to communicate with my feet. Or like it started speaking in the tongue clicking language of Xhosa and my English-speaking feet were like “Excuuuse me?” It got so bad that I felt like if I had to run away from, like, a rabid squirrel or something, I wouldn’t be able to get my feet running. My brain just couldn’t tell them to get going.
After innumerable tests, in November 2006 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I decided to hold off on drug therapy. Instead I began acupuncture treatments, hoping they would alleviate my symptoms. As any good acupuncturist would do, mine took down my entire health history. As part of that history I mentioned the difficulty I was having becoming pregnant.
Rather than treating just my MS symptoms, my acupuncturist treated my whole body. In doing that, he kick-started something. I have no idea what, but I remember feeling a deep sensation, for lack of a better word, in my lower belly during a few treatments.*
One night in mid-January 2007, I was talking to my mother. (I don’t know about your mother, but mine has an annoying tendency to be right about everything. Growing up, I usually did the opposite of what she advised. Only in retrospect did I see that I should have listened to her.) But, anyway, we were just talking, and all of a sudden she got very serious and said “Amy, you probably shouldn’t get pregnant now that you’ve been diagnosed with MS. How will you care for a child when you’re in a wheelchair?”
My heart sank. She didn’t know that my period was extraordinarily late. The next day at work I took a pregnancy test, already knowing what I was going to see:
Of course. The opposite of what my mother advised.
*(I later joked that my acupuncturist got me pregnant. I thought it was funny! But my husband, uh, not so much, considering that my acupuncturist was a young, good-looking guy.) _______________________________________________________________________
So, here we are today. Luckily, thankfully, my symptoms have been stable for the past three years. My feet are still tingly, but they aren’t painful and I feel like my brain is back to speaking English and in control of the situation. I’m still not on medication. I no longer go to acupuncture (I would like to, but simply cannot afford it. I wish insurance companies would get with the program and see that acupuncture is a valid health care option.)
My passion for health and wellness is due in large part to my illness. I know that if I take care of myself–by eating well, exercising, and staying happy–I’ll increase my chances of staying relatively symptom-free. I can live with tingling feet, provided they can get me away from a rabid squirrel. And, right now, they can. I’m even in the process of advancing from fast walking to jogging. That’s huge! I rarely jogged before I was diagnosed.
Although I wish I had nothing to do with this crappy disease, I can’t help but think that if I never woke up that morning with tingling feet, I never would have gone to acupuncture. And if I never went to acupuncture, well, I may never have become a mother. It’s true that something good can come out of something bad.
I need to stay healthy for myself, my husband, and my now three-year-old son, who is quite honestly the most amazing person I’ve ever met. Being with him every day is a blessing and a joy and I pray that I can continue to run around and play with him for many years to come.
Now, nearly four years later, I can say for the first time in my life that my mother was wrong: I most definitely should have gotten pregnant. And I bet she’d readily admit it.
Happy Birthday, buddy. Mommy loves you xoxo~
September 13, 2010 § 6 Comments
Peter started preschool last week. I had prepped him well, I thought, in the preceding weeks by telling him the following:
“Mommy will drop you off. You will play with other kids and learn some new things. Then mommy will come and pick you up.”
He happily repeated this mantra and seemed to fully understand what the deal was.
The morning started out great:
When we got to school, he walked right into the classroom without even a second glance back at Pete and I. Other parents milled around out in the hallway with us. Some were calming their crying child. Others, like us, watched as their brave little one marched fearlessly into the unknown classroom jungle.
However, we may have milled around just a minute too long. Peter suddenly appeared in the doorway to show us a play hot dog that he was excited about (irony of ironies: he’s never eaten a hot dog and it’s a big family controversy). Unfortunately at the same moment, the teachers were trying to usher the parents out of the area in order to get the class started. It happened quickly, but the happy face he had sported all morning suddenly morphed into:
It was ugly. I’ll spare you the details. I had to go upstairs for parent orientation, but Pete had to head out to work. He later told me that he could hear Peter screaming all the way out in the parking lot.
When I stood in the classroom doorway later to pick him up, I saw that he was wearing his happy face again, sitting on the floor with some other kids. The teacher assured me that, although he cried for quite a while, he eventually calmed down once they got him talking and took him outside to play. He was fine.
And the next school day? Not one tear was shed. He blew me kisses as he walked into the classroom and said “Bye, Mommy.”
Bye, my baby boy.
August 19, 2010 § 5 Comments
One year ago today I woke up to a new reality: I was a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). The previous day marked the end of a long chapter of my life. I had left my publishing career. I could no longer say I worked as “a project manager at a scholarly publishing company.” I was now a Domestic Engineer and my new boss was a 23-month old boy. My new office was my home, and the purpose of my job was to raise this boy into a decent, loving, intellectual human being.
I felt scared for many reasons. My #1 fear was being sent to the poorhouse, but my second biggest fear was: what was I going to do with this kid ALL DAY EVERY DAY?! On the weekends, my husband and I tag-teamed parented. All three of us played together and when I had to go to the bathroom or something, Pete was there to keep an eye on Peter, and vice versa. But for a SAHM (or a single mom, for that matter), well, we’re missing that spare eye. There’s nobody else to tag and say “you’re it.” So on our first full day alone together, I thought I found a good solution for when I needed a bathroom break: strap him in his booster seat with a craft project:
After that unfortunate mishap things got better. I learned to clear the room of any potentially harmful or messy items before I took a bathroom break. We eventually had the semblance of a routine. He watched a wee bit more t.v. than I had envisioned. We went to Gymboree classes. We joined a Mom’s Club. We went on playdates and made new friends. He had a few tantrums. I lost my shit a few times. We picked berries. We watched ants marching. We visited family and friends. We read books. We made some crafts. We even made a bird feeder! We had conversations. We frequented parks and, of course, Target. (Target sends out some kind of siren call to SAHMs. It’s a phenomenon.)
I sometimes missed the idea of work. But did I ever regret my decision to close that chapter?
Afterall, would any of my co-workers actually practice emotion faces with me? I think not.
Or maybe they would have. I don’t know. I never asked them. But it probably would’ve been wicked awkward if I had.
My co-workers never told me I looked like a Princess when I wore a dress to the office. Peter does. He calls me “Mama Princess.” He asks me to twirl for him. So I do. And he looks at me as if I’m the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen.
So, it’s a year later and I really feel like I’m just now easing into this new position, chapter, whatever you want to call it.
I love it, and I feel so lucky to be able to hang out with my fun little buddy every day. I hope he feels lucky, too.
Not to toot my own horn, but I think he does.
June 6, 2010 § 1 Comment
Setting: Peter’s nightlight-illuminated room. Bedtime. Mama is patiently rocking in rocking chair. Peter is chatting and roaming around room, attempting to prolong the bedtime ritual for as long as humanly possible.
He picks up his green sippy cup.
Peter: Juicy water*?
Mama: Nope, just plain water.
Peter: Plain water? (lifts cup of PLAIN water over his head and starts flying it as if it were a PLANE.)
The English language is so confusing.
*(“juicy water”= watered-down juice)