Things Need To Change and Whole Life Challenge

Me and Jonathan- Easter 2014

The past 9 months or so have been very difficult for me physically and emotionally. Life has been hard, and I feel like it is all I can do to stay afloat. 

I have had a pretty bad flare of my autoimmune disease (not sure what it is, but quite sure it is something) so I have been in almost constant physical pain, especially in my joints. Despite continuing to eat very strict AI Paleo, I have gained over 40 pounds(!) in that time, which is disheartening and depressing, to say the very least. (In the picture above I had to wear a different dress to church on Easter because the one I wanted to wear wouldn’t zip- and the last time I wore it it was loose on me!) Because of what was thought to be a metatarsal fracture in my left foot, and turned out to be severe bursitis, I wore a boot for 2 solid months. This weakened my left side and threw me off balance, which led to me hurting my back (two herniated disks, pinched nerves) and a lot of pain in my SI Joint, which resulted in being almost completely disabled for a while, taking a lot of drugs I wouldn’t normally consider, a cortisone shot, and 2 months of physical therapy. My back and hips are starting to feel like normal, but I know that if I don’t continue to work to strengthen and stabilize my back and SI that I will continue to have massive problems and injuries in the future. My sleep quality is poor and I am always fatigued and lacking energy. My adrenals and sex hormones are out of whack, and I continue to struggle with a cycle of constipation and diarrhea. I saw a rheumatologist yesterday, and wrote out a list of all the symptoms I have been experiencing recently and it took up 1 1/2 pages!

Add in that we are still trying to figure out what on earth is going on with the kids in terms of their food allergies, GI problems, and chronic diarrhea. Aurora has entered the terrible two’s (and so far they are REALLY TERRIBLE!) Plus, just life. It’s crazy busy with a 2 and 4 year old, running our household and spending way too much time in the kitchen, supporting my husband as he runs his own business, being involved at church, starting to home school, and every once in a while fitting in time for myself and the things I enjoy.

So I have come to the realization that things have to change- I need to heal so that I can be active and vital, so that I can be fully present for my family. And that means that I need to make my health and wellness a priority, something that doesn’t come easily to  this busy mama. My husband likened it to being starved for oxygen. The airplane safety videos always tell adults to put on their own masks first before helping others. I need to make sure I can breathe, that I can take care of myself, before I can help my husband, children and others. I need to make good nutritional choices for myself, to exercise and be strong, to prioritize sleep. For once, I need to put myself and well-being first.

Easter 2014 Our Family

I’ve been trying to figure out how to do that. How can I motivate myself to practice a level of self-care I have probably never managed to do in my adult life? I listened to an episode of The Paleo View podcast a while ago and Stacy Toth (who just won a Strongman competition!) talked about how she was doing a Whole Life Challenge with her gym. That it was a points-based competition with yourself, but done in community. And this appealed to me very much. With my husband’s previous employer, I did  Virgin Health Miles, and for some reason it was very motivating for me to get in all my steps for the day. (I used to walk laps in my house before going to bed if I was close to the next level.) But the WLC goes a few steps harder- you get points for making good nutrition choices, exercising, mobilization, taking supplements (which I am so bad at), and healthy lifestyle changes (like getting good sleep.) The WLC has everything I need to motivate me to succeed- a clear cut competition (points system) with myself, online community, accountability and encouragement.

So after talking things over with Benjamin last night, I went ahead and signed up for the next challenge, which starts May 3. I would love to have some friends and family join me, so if that is something that interests you, check out their website and Facebook page. Registration is only $39 for 1 more day, and then it goes up to $49. Let me know if you decide to participate, so we can be on a team together.

I will try to blog regularly about my experience, and we will see if I am brave enough to post my Before picture and stats!

Easter 2014 Cute kids

 

 

Plantain Pizza Crust or Sandwich Bread (Grain, dairy, egg, soy, nut-free)

Plantain pizza crust

Sometimes I feel such sadness for my kids as they navigate all of their food allergies and GI issues. They are already quite aware that they eat very differently than most of their friends, and we have already had some issues come up with birthday celebrations and playdates. A few weeks ago, my 4 year old son pulled the jar of Daddy’s peanut butter out of the pantry and asked if he could have some with his apple slices. (We were out of almond butter, which he loves.) I told him that he couldn’t eat it because he is allergic and it would hurt his body. When he asked why he was allergic I replied “because that is the way God made your body.” He replied in a very sad, subdued voice “I wish God had made me a body that can eat all kinds of food.” It broke my heart.

Aurora at Castle Park

God didn’t create my childrens’ bodies so they could eat all kinds of food, but I am so very thankful that He did create them to be able to enjoy a wide range of healthy foods, and that He started to raise up awareness of the Paleo movement and its surrounding community right when we needed it the most. My kids eat a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, safe starches, fats, and healthy meats. And because of ideas from other Paleo bloggers and my own need to creatively meet my family’s nutritional needs, I have even been able to bring in occasional treats that nourish their bodies and comfort their sweet hearts. (I am also thankful that I don’t have the checkout line meltdowns when they see all the candy there!)

Jonathan is at an age where he understands when I tell him he can’t eat a food because he is allergic. Unfortunately, Aurora at age two, doesn’t understand, and will eat anything and everything she can get hold of, which can be really tricky at playdates and church.

Aurora at Castle Park

Every kid loves pizza- at least in the US. And I have really struggled to come up with a pizza alternative that my whole family could enjoy together, without thinking about what is missing or different. It is a bit of a struggle to come up with a crust that is delicious, fairly close in texture, taste and substance to the original (wheat) version, and is dairy, egg, nut, soy and grain free. I have made it a couple times with my Chebe Bread Hack, but that gets a bit gummy. Before Aurora joined our family and we didn’t have a tree nut allergy to contend with, I adapted an almond flour pizza crust by Elena Amsterdam (from this cookbook.)

But it was definitely time to think way outside the box and come up with something that would work for a pizza crust for the whole family. As always, I circled back to our love of everything plantain, which I think must be one of the most versatile foods on the planet. We have really loved integrating this into our menu planning- it’s so fun to have a pizza night every once in a while! (In fact, Jonathan asked for it for dinner tonight.)

We top our pizza with homemade basil pesto, bell pepper, zucchini, pepperoni, ham, sausage, and sometimes caramelized onions. Just choose your favorite toppings, or let your kids make their own delicious creations.

4 Plantain pizzas

As an added bonus for my sandwich loving son (who has never had anything that could even remotely be considered sandwich bread), I discovered it makes a great sandwich bread. Great to have a “bread” we can use to make and take sandwiches for a picnic.

Sandwiches with plantain bread

Jonathan approved

Plantain Pizza Crust or Sandwich Bread
Serves 6
A delicious pizza crust or sandwich bread made from plantains. Soooo good!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 large green plantains, peeled and cut into chunks
  2. 1/4 C nutritional yeast
  3. 1/2 C pumpkin puree
  4. 1/4 C oil or fat of choice (may need additional to make smooth batter)
  5. 1 tsp. baking powder
  6. Optional: salt and Italian seasoning to sprinkle on top.
  7. Pizza toppings of your choice. i.e. tomato sauce or pesto, veggies, pepperoni, sausage, etc.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Using a high speed blender, puree all of the ingredients together until a smooth batter is formed. You may need to add a bit more oil to get a smooth batter.
For pizza crust
  1. Spoon about 1/4 C of batter onto prepared baking sheets. (I can usually get 4 crusts on a baking sheet.) Use a spatula to spread out into a small circle, about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick. (For a thin, crunchy crust, spread it thinner. If you like a doughier crust, spread it thicker.)
  2. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and quickly add toppings. Return to oven for an additional 10-15 minutes, until crust is cooked through and toppings are done.
For sandwich bread
  1. Spoon all of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Using a spatula, gently spread it out until it is a uniform 1/8 inch thick.
  2. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, until top is golden brown.
  3. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into sandwich bread.
Notes
  1. Remember that you can control how crispy or doughy the crust is. Just spread it thinner or thicker according to your preference.
Created To Be Paleo http://CreatedToBePaleo.com/

Created To Be Paleo is Born!: Our Story, Part 1

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I have been thinking and praying about starting Created To Be Paleo for quite a while now, and it finally seems like now is the right time. I have really enjoyed sharing our lives over at Honey’s Musings for the past 3 years, and I really want to keep that a place to share about the things in my life that I love the most (namely, my husband Benjamin and children, Jonathan and Aurora) and the things that God is putting on my heart and in my life. I’d like to give myself the freedom to allow Honey’s Musings to be a personal blog, where I really can share my musings, and of course, lots of cute pictures of my kids!I hope you will join me over there to really see what is going on in our lives.

Because of my family’s unique relationship with food as a result of a plethora of food allergies and sensitivities, I have had to become very creative in the kitchen and in how we live our lives in this modern world. And that is where Created To Be Paleo comes in. I intend to share the recipes that I have crafted and borrowed to suit our dietary needs. I will share what it means to be 100% Paleo 100% of the time, because that is the only way for my children to thrive. And I really want this to be a place where families dealing with similar food issues and lifestyle changes can come to feel supported and part of a community. Just to know that you are not alone can make a huge difference. And you don’t have to eat Paleo to enjoy these recipes- they are all amazingly delicious and wholesome.

Why the name Created to be Paleo? As a Christ-follower, I fervently believe that God creates us to be the people we are and will become. Psalm 139:13-14 says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” I know that God had a hand in creating myself and my children. He knew that we would struggle with food allergy and digestion issues. He knew what a shift in thinking that would be for me to nourish myself and my children, and He made me strong enough and surrounded me with a support system that has allowed me to accomplish it.

My son had hives the day he was born, and both children by 6 weeks of age showed significant signs of food allergies, digestive and malabsorption issues , despite being strictly breastfed and my eating a “healthy” Standard American Diet (SAD), minus my own food allergens at the time (dairy, eggs, soy, some seeds.) When my son was a few months old, we reached a crisis point, and I embarked on a strict Allergy Elimination Diet, where for weeks I only ate chicken, rice, pears, and zucchini. When our allergist suggested I eliminate rice as well, and we finally started to see improvement it was a huge step forward. After that, I was able to determine that Jonathan was allergic and/or intolerant to all grains, seeds and seed oils, legumes (including peanuts), berries, tomatoes, citrus, pineapple and mushrooms.

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