How 30 Days of Paleo Changed Our Family

I haven’t posted in a while–things have been busy busy.  We finished our 30 days of Paleo and are pretty much continuing it.  We are not as strict with it now but we really enjoyed it and are going to stick with it as best we can in our busy world.  The biggest outcome of Paleo for our family (other than the fact that we had more energy and felt better) was in our children.  We discovered two things: 1) Our son is gluten intolerant and 2) when you feed your kids nothing but good foods, they start only wanting the good food and are more willing to try new and unusual things.

We have been on a long road with my son’s behavior and development.  He’s on the autism spectrum but is just boarder line enough to not receive much help (one of the reason’s we homeschool).  He’s also had terrible eating habits since toddlerhood.  He’d only eat white, starchy, processed, factory-made carbohydrates.  We tried feeding therapy, we tried changing our diet, we tried forbidding the poorer foods but nothing worked.  When we started Paleo, we went cold turkey–even with the kids.  We got rid of everything that was processed, carbohydrates and grains.  It terrified my son but it only took a few dinner battles to really get past it.  Once he started eating the better whole foods, he started feeling better, was more cognitive and actually started trying new things.  He went from eating a diet of french fries, chicken nuggets and rice to eating celery, strawberries, meat, salad, artichokes, almost anything I gave him.  And he was happier.  I really couldn’t believe my eyes.

When the 30 days were over, we let him eat some glutenous foods and the change was drastic and obviously connected.  As my husband said, “Our children are gluten intolerant .. when they eat gluten, they become intolerable!”  The day after eating gluten, my son couldn’t listen to a full sentence without tuning me out, he couldn’t remember any of his lessons, he grew dark and irritable and he was incoherent and non-verbal.  I had read many times about putting spectrum kids on a gluten free diet but I just stubbornly never wanted to walk that path.  However, having my son be with me mentally is worth every effort.  It really has made a difference.  He will still need some therapies and special help but I’m fully advocating a gluten free diet for spectrum kids.  And going Paleo actually made that incredibly easy!  We don’t have to substitute breads or desserts etc. we just eliminate all grains.  Truly amazing.

Making Paleo Easy

We are coming to a close on our Whole30 challenge.  We’ve made it the whole month with only a few minor cheat days.  The biggest take away I have thus far is that I don’t want to quit!  I imagine we will be less strict with it but I feel better, enjoy eating more and find it much easier to shop and cook with a Paleo lifestyle.  The kids have also been eating better and trying new things–can’t really beat that.

The hardest thing has been breakfast.  While I love eggs and bacon, I don’t want to cook it every morning.  I miss drinking my coffee while the kids got their cereal instead of trying to get a cup of coffee down while they fuss at me to cook for them. The easiest way to get around this is to have some easy things in the fridge for them to eat like yogurt,  cheese, ham slices, mix up a fast smoothie with frozen fruit, nuts are a good starter, dates are amazing… Ah, now I can enjoy that cup of coffee in peace!

Here’s some things I’ve discovered cooking Paleo over the last few weeks:

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Your blender is your friend.  Use it.  Daily.

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You can put almost anything into a smoothie.  And even the kids won’t know about all the delicious nutrition in there. (We’re talking spinach, apples, frozen fruit, almond butter, beets, squash… ) We lovingly call many of our smoothies “mud.”  My children love to drink mud.

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Smoothies are probably the fastest Paleo lunch or breakfast to throw together when you are out of ideas.  Throw an entire salad and some nut butter in there and you have all the nutrition you possibly could need.

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Almost any vegetable can be mixed with almost any meat and it will look and taste delicious–experiment with any combination. I dare you.

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Miss things like tacos?

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Make it into a salad.

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You can sauté just about anything.  Start with coconut oil, spices, garlic, peppers, etc..

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Fry (this is canned tuna)

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Serve with some sort of vegetable side and you have a super quick and scrumptious meal.

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Basically anything that sounds delicious, is delicious.  (This is sweet potatoes, apples and walnuts sautéed in coconut oil. Mmmm.)

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Broil those veggies–it’s fast and delicious.

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Kids actually do like vegetables!  Who would have thought!

Have fun!

I’m “That Mom”

I read a lot of things online.  Especially things pertaining to parenting.  And I see a lot of criticism, cattiness, and judgement from and to other moms.  I have been the receiver of motherly judgment and cattiness as well as criticism and let me tell you, yes, “I’m that mom” and I really don’t care what anyone thinks about that.

See, we are all “that mom” in some way or another.

Before we have kids we look around us and see something we don’t like.  Maybe we see a mom getting frustrated with her child in the grocery store because she’s lost her patience, or the mom starring at her phone at the playground, or perhaps the mom giving her child a sucker for a moments peace and we think to ourselves, “I’ll never be that mom.”  Well, let me tell you, we are all “that mom” at one point or another and I’m okay with that because it means I’m being the best mom I can be for my kids–not yours.  We all work differently.

Being a parent is challenging and there really is no one way to do it.  If something works for your kid, I can guarantee it won’t work for mine.  If I give my kids a sucker from time to time to get through the grocery store I can guarantee it was a necessary action for the health of all parties involved.  My child acts differently than yours.  My child responds to different discipline than yours.  I have a different patience limit than you.  I allow my children different things than you do yours due to our different upbringings, ideals, spirituality etc. And I will defiantly cook my parsnips and spinach differently than you.

Each family unit is different for a variety of reasons.  And each child is different within those units.  Let’s be patient with each other and kind–applaud the mother handing her child a lollipop in the grocery store because she is willing to take that step in order to get through the shopping trip so she can feed her family in the coming days.

I wish women still made bread together.  I wish motherhood and parenthood was not a competition but rather a comradeship.  I wish that mother in the store who is frustrated with her child could get more pats on the back and words of encouragement that it will get better.  Because it will–especially when we are reminded to look for it.  Help your fellow parents to stay strong and feel good about what they are doing.

We are raising the next generation of people–lets show them how to work together.

Dance Stretch 3

A more advanced version of the last stretch.  Start with hands over your head (first position), then reach toward your left leg.  Be sure to keep your arms overhead and your body facing forward.  Keep both legs and hips on the floor.  Come back up to the center and stretch over toward the right leg.  Now, bend forward with your nose toward the floor, arms overhead.  

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This will stretch your legs, hips, and work your abs as you support the balance of your body in the stretch. Hold each stretch 20-30 seconds.  

There’s Some Changes Happening Here!

I’m in the midst of improving EMotherhood.  How do you like it?

Some things to notice:

-The recipe category now has a Paleo drop down.

-I’ve included a Betterments (personal improvements) section which includes a drop down of a photography challenge, a dance challenge and the Paleo Whole30 challenge.

-I’ve changed the layout and design.

-I’ve added a link of favorite blogs I follow–check them out!

-Add me on Twitter and Pinterest via the buttons on the right!

 

I’m pretty excited–I hope you all find the new format to be easy to navigate and attractive!

Dance Stretches 1

Stretching is so so good for you.  Before I dance, I always stretch–it warms up the muscles and gets you focused on the next part of class.

A very beginner ballet stretch is to stretch the feet to prepare for pointing the toes.  Here’s how to do it: (How do you like my little bunheads?)

BS toe stretchFirst sit up tall on your sits bones, legs outstretched. Point your toes up to the sky, flexing toward your torso until you feel a good stretch.  Then point your toes forward trying to touch the floor with your toes. Make sure your knees remain on the floor and you back stays straight.  Do 10 reps holding each stretch for 10-20 seconds.

30 Day Improvements: Dance

After starting the Paleo Whole30, I realized how easy it is to set a goal to change things up for 30 days.  And heaven knows I need some changes now and then!  Something I’ve been coming to terms with lately, is when I’m stressed, I’ve lost my outlets.  I don’t have a hobby or activity that I flee to when I need a break.  I’m going to change that.  And I’m going to use the 30 day model to stay motivated in doing so.

The first challenge I’ll be giving myself is to dance again.  I can teach my children and I can get back into shape doing it.  I used to teach ballet and lyrical dance and I miss it like crazy. I taught classes up until I was 8 months pregnant with my son and after that, I was part of a team and took several college dance credits.  But it’s been a good 5 years since I did anything serious. So for 30 days, I’ll be blogging and instructing how to do a simple ballet class.

Here’s my outline and goals:

1)  To teach my children, myself, and my readers how to do simple ballet exercises

2)  To become more flexible again (achieve the forward splits, a right angle arabesque, and a reasonable backbend)

3)  To choreograph.  By the end of the 30 days, I want to have an entire dance choreographed and I’ll post the sketch here.

If the love of dance returns after 30 days, maybe I’ll take it up as a permanent hobby, if not then I’ll continue the search for another activity. Here I go…!

Keeping Self

Parenting is hard.  Oh it is so so hard.  Maybe it’s adulthood in general but I don’t know adulthood without parenthood, so I can’t speak to that.  I spent my entire 20’s trying to figure out how to raise children.  At first, I tried really hard to keep parts of myself while attempting to raise my children but over the years that seems to have faded.  And I don’t think it is supposed to.  Somehow, I think it is really important to keep things about yourself that mean something to you–that keep you ticking.  In the chaos that is parenthood, it is easy to lose site of it though.

I’ll be thirty this year.  When I was younger, I really looked forward to getting into my 30s.  The 20s were hard.  Really hard. And I experienced a lot of judgement for being a young 20-something mother.  I thought maybe once I’d turn 30, everything would get easier.  I’d get accepted into the right social networks and I’d feel better about myself.  I’d be accepted as a member of society instead of feeling like an outsider.  But instead, I’m realizing that I’ll miss my 20s.  There was hope then… I was still young and still had things to look forward to–or so I thought.  What I’ve been realizing  lately is that I don’t know what they are anymore.

We have a photo stream screen saver on our TV and I don’t recognize myself.  I can still see ‘me’ in our wedding pictures but beyond that, I really don’t look like myself anymore.  I was so caught up in child raising that I gave up everything of myself.  I gave up my makeup, my hair, my clothes, my dancing, my passions, my schooling, my musical instruments, my decorating, just about anything that made me a strong individual was lost. What’s strange is I really don’t know how it happened.  The stress, the changes of having children, moving, dealing with adulthood just overtook me.  And instead of demanding I keep parts of my self, I gave into the roller coaster of life–I didn’t demand it stop for a few minutes so I could get off.   So I could connect with myself and not get swept away.  And now, only now, am I realizing how wrong it was. How very very important it is to keep bits of yourself despite the way life changes you.  Now, when I need a break, when I start burning out, I have nothing to fall back on.  Nothing to remember who I am–as an individual.  It scares me.  If I have the time to take care of my appearance, I don’t have any makeup to put on and I don’t even remember how to style my hair.  I don’t remember how to dance–it was my life and I find it strange muscle memory isn’t stronger–the idea of taking a class feels embarrassing.  I am so unpracticed at the piano or any of the other instruments that I used to play,  it’s a challenge to get any satisfaction out of sitting down and playing for 10 minutes.

See, there has to be something–even just one thing that we as parents need to keep all our own.  That the distraction of children and life can’t take from us.  To remember our true being.  I hope to develop something in the future to grasp onto.  Something to bring peace back into my soul.  My escape for when times are rough.  Maybe it will be blogging.  I don’t know.  But I think as life goes on, I grieve the ‘me’ that used to be.  As I’m sure all do at some point.

As a youth, I never believed all the older members of society saying how hard life was.  I was optimistic to a fault and believed life was fairies and butterflies.  There are still moments of glory and beauty. Thankfully my family is the one who shares those moments with me.  But it is hard.  And it’s ok to realize that, accept it, grieve your losses and move on.  It doesn’t mean you aren’t happy in your current circumstances, it doesn’t mean you don’t love your family, it just means you are taking one more step toward personal growth.

Versatile Blogger

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I was very surprised and excited to log onto my blog yesterday and find that Kelly, from the very entertaining Free Little Words  blog, nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award.  Thank you, Kelly!  What a fun game, too!

Here’s how this works:

  • Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  • Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  • Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  • Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Here’s the 15 blogs I have selected:

1. The Homestead at Spring Creek

2.  Velo Mom

3.  Allison Slater Tate

4.  The Thinking Mother 

5.  Handmade Homeschool 

6.  Love Life With Kids

7.  Wonder in the Woods

8.  Sara Sweetless

9.  Barn Raisin

10. Our Homeschool Journey 

11.  This Crunchy Life Blog 

12. A Homeschool Mom

13. Mummyshymz

14. So Here’s Us

15. My Thoughts on a Page

Here’s those 7 things about me:

1.  I’m addicted to the sun and warmth–in fact I live for it.

2.  I  struggled with parenting until I became inundated with parental duties thanks to child #3 (now I’m truly in love with my daily life)

3.  I am passionate about dance, choreography and music.

4.  I’m a wanna be hippie that belongs in a commune somewhere…. probably on a beach….. barefoot.

5.  I love artistic photography with a passion.

6.  Despite blogging a lot about parenting, homeschooling, and homemaking, I really love food blogging the most.

7. I have a dream of traveling the world with my husband and kids.

So there it is!  Have fun ya’ll!  I love reading all your blogs!