Saturday, September 10, 2016

Exhale


This post originally appeared on the918.org

To me, motherhood means having a hummingbird feeder. My mom has always had hummingbird feeders and my grandma always did, too. She loved hummingbirds. After I had my first child, I asked Kyle if he would get me a hummingbird feeder for Mother’s Day. It was a right of passage. The 19 hours of labor and delivery didn’t seal it, it was the hummingbird feeder that made me feel like a mom.

This is our first spring and summer in our new house and I had a reminder on my calendar to set out the hummingbird feeder. It’s right outside our kitchen window and I was delighted when hummingbirds started visiting! We were getting several different ones and started naming them. There was the beautiful ruby throated James, plain, petit Judy and a few other regulars. Pretty soon, though, I noticed that fat, short-beaked Franklin had decided to stake claim on the feeder and would dive-bomb anyone who tried to come to one of the four fake flowers that held the sugary sweet “nectar” I so lovingly prepared.

I had heard hummingbirds can be territorial but it still made me mad. It was only when Franklin flew away that the others could come for a drink. He’d perch on top of the feeder, ready to drive away any competition. Didn’t he know that there was more than enough sugar-water to go around? Didn’t he know that I would gladly make more, if the feeder was even close to being empty? Silly Franklin. Franklin got under my skin. He should share the wealth. He shouldn’t be so bossy. This wasn’t his feeder, it was MINE. Slow your roll, Franklin.

Why did Franklin make me so mad? And then it hit me: It made me mad beause I am Franklin. When I have leftover condiments at a fast food restaurant, I take them home with me and store them in my fridge. I like to blame it on being frugal, but it goes deeper than that. I’m afraid if I don’t take care of myself and get all I can, a day will come when I don’t have what I need. Isn’t that the American Way?

Saving comes naturally to me. I do it with fast food condiments, with money, with snacks and with deeper, more meaningful parts of my life. I frequently catch myself holding my breath. As if there might not be enough air for my next inhale. I hold onto what I have, in case it runs out. This is all subconsciously done, of course, but it is a common thread in my life. Worry that applause for someone else might mean there is no room for recognizing the good that I have done. Worry that, despite God showing faithfulness again and again throughout my life, the lifeline might just run out this time.

I ran across a quote by Ann Voskamp in January and it’s been slowly sinking in for the past several months. “Worry is belief gone wrong. Because you don’t believe that God will get it right. But peace- peace is belief that exhales. Because you believe that God’s provision is everywhere- like air.”  God’s provision is everywhere- like air. Oh, to breathe the free air! To not chase the other hummingbirds away, but welcome them to the feast, trusting that there will be more than enough for everyone.

I want to live my life as an exhale. Give my time, my energy, my money, my dearest treasure. Freely. With abandon, knowing it is all a gift from God in the first place. 





Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sugar Detox Day 6

Welp. I just wrote a long update and my computer shut down so... Here's the Clifsnotes version:

I'm doing ok. No out of control cravings but I miss cheesy carbs! The three day sugar detox was meant to help create a clean slate and give me a jumping off point, so here's what I plan to eat now:

all vegetables
fruit in moderation
"clean" meat and fish (trying to do organic but not always possible)
whole grains in moderation
beans

Splurge foods:
refined sugar
honey, agave, pure maple syrup
refine grains

I can't say I feel a significant improvement in my pain level or brain fog, but I do feel a little more alert. I still wake up with my muscles aching/burning, so we'll see what to try next :)

I've lost 6 pounds since I started reducing sugar 10 days ago, which feels great. I now weigh what I did when I got my drivers license and am 30 pounds less than my heaviest weight.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sugar Detox: Day 2

So far, so good with the sugar detox. I have moments where I really want some dark chocolate or pizza (of course), but for the most part, I don't feel completely deprived or defeated. Not to say I don't want donuts or coffee with cream, but I'd say it's not been as hard as I anticipated, probably because I knew it would only be for 3 days. I can do anything for three days.

I've been reading more and gaining more of an understanding how sugar and caffeine affect our bodies and am wondering if I should cut out caffeine next. I've read blogs and actual medical studies about caffeine and low back pain, and eliminating caffeine can cause drastic reduction of pain for some people. What if I was one of those people?! It's worth finding out, for sure. After this three day sugar detox, I think I'll reintroduce small amounts of grains, fruit and dairy (I didn't consume lots of dairy before, but the stuff I did have, I miss!) and consider giving up caffeine for a while. It's kind of a hard time to think about cutting caffeine, with summer camps starting Monday at work, so I really want to weigh the cost/benefit to cutting it or reducing it at the busiest time of the year for me.

I ate just about the same stuff today as yesterday, but for a snack today I had tuna salad (canned white tuna in water, chopped dill pickle, mustard) on cucumber slices and it was really good. We're having broiled tilapia and grape tomatoes tonight with roasted asparagus and steamed edamame with sea salt. Might roast some broccoli and cauliflower with the asparagus.

So far, not seeing any difference with my pain level or concentration, but wasn't expecting anything yet. Time will tell. But, in the meantime, I feel good about fueling my body with fresh, whole, healthy food.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sugar Detox

I've been doing some research on sugar and how it causes an inflammatory response in our bodies. So I started to reduce my sugar intake: I swapped sugary lattes for coffee with cream and 1 packet of raw sugar. I stopped drinking pop for the most part (still would have 1 or 2 a month). But after reading more, I am seeing that sugar is in everything (spaghetti sauce, mayonnaise, cereal, etc.). I started making more of an effort to cut out sugar (reducing fruit consumption, eliminating any processed grains, no white flour). It hasn't been as hard as I imagined, except for wanting pizza every day, which isn't a new thing, I want pizza every day anyway! But after talking to some friends and reading more, I decided it it time to really take this seriously, so I'm starting with a 3 day cold-turkey detox, and will start adding in different foods after the three days. I went to the grocery store after the boys went to bed last night (Kyle was home, so they weren't alone!!) and got the supplies I think I'll need.

The first three days, I'll abstain from added sugar in all its forms (raw sugar, honey, agave), along with any grains, beans and all dairy. I'm most sad about the dairy and think it will be what I add back first, but wanting to read more before I make that call. Fruit might be a better option, but really, I don't know!

The reason for doing the detox is to see if it helps with the chronic pain I've lived with for the last 20 years, so I'm logging my "complaints" to see if there is any change.

Complaints:
chronic low back pain
chronic muscle pain (shoulders, back, quads, calves)
joint pain (knees, back, hips, occasionally wrists and jaw)
brain fog (trouble concentrating, memory recall)
occasional migraines
allergies

I don't expect all these symptoms to improve after three days of no sugar, but wanted a complete list to reference later.

I found a few articles that had some recipes and menus, so this is what I'll be eating today:
Breakfast: 2 egg omelette with onions, mushrooms and red and yellow peppers
Snack: 1/2 cup pistachios (in shell), carrots, hummus, bell peppers
Lunch: Spinach salad with red onion, tomatoes, chopped grilled chicken
Snack: almonds, bell peppers
Dinner: Spinach salad, sliced steak, mushrooms, roasted broccoli and cauliflower

We'll see how it all shakes out!