5 Things to avoid while living gluten-free

How Do I Help My Child? A Mother's Mission

gluten-free-signGluten-free living is changing the lives of countless people for the better. It helps to alleviate multiple maladies and heals years of misery for most dieters. I went completely gluten-free (GF) and casein-free (CF) six years ago to support my son’s GFCF lifestyle. I quickly discovered the benefits of being GFCF – my digestive illness, pains, and allergy concerns were resolved. Two years into my diet change I became chronically ill with symptoms of autoimmune disease, arthritis, fatigue, brain-fog, emotional changes, allergies, and exercise intolerance. I went from being an active person to being a sick person. How did this occur when I was on such a healthy diet plan?

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Motherhood: How God trained me to embrace the proverbial elephant

elephantWhen I was asked to speak at church about my experiences of motherhood, I heartily agreed. I was asked to speak this Mother’s Day which is just around the corner. Although I was given plenty of advanced notice, I continue to find myself at a loss for words. How do I condense eighteen years of being a mother into a ten minute homily? What does God want me to share with other moms? How do I explain motherhood?

“How do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time. This saying is used in the business world to help explain short term versus long term goal setting. If you see the proverbial elephant as a larger than life barrier to achieving your goal, you need to eat it slowly – one bite at a time. If you see the elephant as an older wiser ally, you’d better not eat it. You’d better feed and nurture it – allowing it to grow daily. Let’s face it, eating an elephant one bite at a time would be exhausting anyway. Why does the elephant exists? Does it mean you harm? Is it in your way?

If motherhood is the elephant, did I eat away at mine or did I nourish it and allow myself to become stronger than I knew was possible? Neither. God chose an alternative path for me and my elephant to take. God showed me how to climb up on a ladder and sit atop my elephant as its rider. I Switched it up and learned to view the world of motherhood through my own unique perspective. I allowed God to use my elephant for good, not evil.  I dismissed all human expectations and knowledge about how to live with or destroy my elephant. I surrendered my elephant over to God and allowed God to keep it alive and well. After all, God gave me the elephant and trusted me with it. It somehow came in a packaged deal with my kids.

My elephant was especially large and difficult to train as its rider. I had to take many riding lessons. Sometimes I was thrown to the ground and didn’t know if I would survive. Other times, I got off the elephant and walked beside him out of sure fatigue. Some days, my husband tried to ride the elephant. He kept it on the right path, but he often fought with the elephant or wanted to eat it all at once. My husband wanted the elephant to disappear. I did too. My kids especially despised the elephant in our lives. They wanted a puppy instead. They didn’t ask for the elephant, none of us did. But, we all lived with him. We learned to love him and feed him properly. We learned that if we didn’t do these things, he would surely sit on us and smother us to death.

Mostly, we learned as a family that God means all things for good through His grace and love. Loving an elephant is hard at times. I wonder if that’s how God may feel about us as well. I wonder how many other mothers are trying to figure out how to deal with their elephants?

Let’s find the source

waterfall“What do you think about ________?” My response to this question usually involves some form of circular reasoning or begging the question. Why do you seek my answer? Is your question loaded with bias? Is your goal contention or knowledge? Who am I to provide the answer? When one seeks wisdom, one must know the source from which it flows.

Water may flow abundantly or drip slowly one drop at a time. It dissipates and awaits. Water may be natural, filtered, or contaminated. Salty, chlorinated, or runoff. Nevertheless, it is water. It is life! The quest for water never ends nor do questions about life.

If I collect water, I must use a vessel. Much like collecting knowledge, I must know the source from which my water flows. I must ensure my vessel is made of high quality material because I want pure water for eternity.

If I collect water from a contaminated or chlorinated source, I need to filter it. I must trust the filtering process and the filter itself. If I collect runoff or rainwater, I must trust the source. If I collect ocean water, I must desalinate it. I must trust the cup, pot, and desalination process. I must trust myself and my decisions.

If I allow my vessel to overflow, what have I lost? If I place a lid on my vessel and never drink from it, what have I gained? If I don’t use or replace the filter, what have I accomplished? If I keep collecting contaminated water, what am I doing to myself?

If I drink contaminated water and I have no access to a quality vessel or water filter, how will I live? If I give away all my water to help others, what have I left for myself? If I allow my water to dissipate in the heat, how will I survive? If I lose my vessel, where will I be?

In an attempt to seek answers about health, spirituality, wellness, and serious issues of life, know the source from which you seek answers. Answers are not always wisdom. Wisdom comes to those who seek it from God. His wisdom can be applied to all areas of life. The source is where it all begins.

How to make an unhealthy American

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” -Robert F. Kennedy

americaAmerica is a great country filled with hard-workers, brilliant thinkers, leaders, and billionaires. Ideas and advances which perpetuate progress have the ability to create unimaginable ripples – with both positive and negative consequences. America’s healthcare rating is the worst in the developed world and the U.S. ranks sixteenth in the world for overall health according to Time Health and the 2014 Commonwealth Fund survey. What ripple(s) may be creating ailing Americans?  Continue reading

5 Things to avoid while living gluten-free

gluten-free-signGluten-free living is changing the lives of countless people for the better. It helps to alleviate multiple maladies and heals years of misery for most dieters. I went completely gluten-free (GF) and casein-free (CF) six years ago to support my son’s GFCF lifestyle. I quickly discovered the benefits of being GFCF – my digestive illness, pains, and allergy concerns were resolved. Two years into my diet change I became chronically ill with symptoms of autoimmune disease, arthritis, fatigue, brain-fog, emotional changes, allergies, and exercise intolerance. I went from being an active person to being a sick person. How did this occur when I was on such a healthy diet plan?
Continue reading

Expert bias: one diet plan doesn’t fit all

trainingI attended an in-service today presented by a National expert in nutritional therapy. My quest for new health-related knowledge dragged me out of bed an hour early, allowed me to sit through eight hours of listening to the speaker read an 800 slideshow narrative, and allowed me to ignore the dread of driving two and a half hours. Needless to say, I really wanted to learn about this topic, and my mind was completely open. It became apparent within the first ten minutes that I was going to be deeply disappointed. While the expert was brilliant and knowledgeable about nutritional interventions, her bias was apparent. Continue reading

The Band-Aid Kid

the-band-aid-kidWhile at Wal-Mart purchasing yet another package of  Band-Aids for my son, Austin, I wondered, Why am I always buying these? I was raising two boys actively involved with being outdoors, swimming, fishing, hunting, riding bikes, and sports. Both of my boys bled and used Band-Aids for their multiple scrapes and injuries. Their injuries were a “normal” part of living active lives which allowed them to learn natural limits – pain is a good teacher.

Austin went through a box of Band-Aids like a box of chocolates. He picked out his favorite size, texture, and print (usually his favorite superhero or cartoon character). Continue reading

Generational Food Trends: How we went from farm fresh to fast food and back again

generational-foodieFood choices – they define our generations – what can Traditionalists teach the Centennials/NeXters? Living in the present is the new “catch phrase.” It means to be mindful of your current surroundings, choices, emotions, and behaviors. It does not mean to close yourself off from the past. “Those who do not learn from history (the past) are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana

Normally this quote would be used to chastise a generation for going astray from past traditions or conventional wisdom. On the topic of food choices, we need to repeat the past! Continue reading

How food affects the body, brain, and behavior – microbiome

how-food-effects-usDoes food really affect our health, and behavior? I hear this question often and I have to remind myself that personal knowledge related to the toxic effects and healing effects of food choices is unique to each of us. Most people are willing to believe that food directly affects overall health. There are tons of research articles, diet plans, books, and specialists explaining how bad food habits can be dangerous to our bodies and life expectancy. Emerging research explains how certain types of foods affect our mood and behaviors. While we may disagree with which health food plan is best for an individual’s needs, we cannot continue to ignore psychological and physiological diseases plaguing us, our kids, and our nation.  Continue reading

Why Diet Change is Challenging

“We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.” -Dr. Henry Cloud, Christian self-help author

change-faces

Why is it so challenging to change your diet? It seems simple enough. Change your food choices. Healthy diet plans are everywhere. Research laden diet plans make sense. Most of us need to make changes in our diet, so why are we so resistant to changing our food habits?

Change is more difficult than most people recognize. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) explains the stages of change as an upward spiral in which we learn from each stage as we relapse or fall back into old habits. We must identify where each person falls on the Continue reading