Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yogurt - At Last!

I knew that I needed to do something when our yogurt consumption passed the gallon-a-week mark. I discovered plain yogurt when our baby started solid foods, and I LOVED it (the other stuff is too sweet!!!) and have been addicted ever since. With three of us eating it, it goes quickly, and we were spending more than $10/week on yogurt.

I'd tried to make it myself before, but the method was just too time-consuming (read: hours a week). So I did a bit of research and came up with my own method, and it works beautifully! And it's FAST. Feel free to make your own alterations to the method!

World-Famous Crockpot Yogurt
You will need:

1 4- or 5- crock-pot liner with lid
1 tablespoon
1 whisk
1 large pot
1 bath towel

- Milk, whole or 2% 
- 1 gallon
- Yogurt - one really heaping tablespoon (probably same as 2 level tablespoons) per quart of milk you use

Making yogurt takes about half a day. Start either in the morning (to have it ready at night) or in the evening (to have it ready in the morning.

Utensils should be clean but do not need to be sterilized.

1. Put milk in pot. Bring to 180F over medium-low heat. Use your whisk to stir often and heat only on medium at most to avoid scorching. (Since you're heating the whisk along with the milk, you don't need to sterilize it.)

2. Remove from heat. Move to back of stove and let sit until cooled to about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. This will take 20-90 minutes depending on your kitchen temperature. If it gets too cool, just give it a quick blast on the stove to warm it back up.

3. Fill crockpot liner with hot water to warm. Let it sit while you prepare the milk.

4. Add yogurt to milk (one heaping tablespoon yogurt per quart of milk). Pour water out of crockpot and pour milk mixture in. Replace lid. Place crock pot in your oven and cover with doubled bath towel. Give your oven a quick blast of heat (20-30 seconds) and then turn off. If you remember, you can give it another quick blast before bedtime. Leave overnight.

4. In the morning, voila! Yogurt! Refrigerate at least 4 hours before using.


- In the beginning, you will notice a lot of whey (liquid) forming whenever you let it sit or take a spoonful. Just drain it off with a spoon each time you get yogurt. Whey can be saved and used in recipes in place of buttermilk.

- Yogurt will become more tart the longer you let it sit. This also lowers the carb count. Additionally, as the carbs in yogurt are in mostly the whey, the yogurt becomes more low-carb the more you drain off the whey.

- New yogurt is not very fond of being moved into a new container (it can disintegrate somewhat). If you can spare the fridge space, let it stay in there a few days, draining the whey each time you get yogurt. In a few days it will thicken enough so that it can be moved into another container without trauma.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Gorgeous Birth Video!

This is the first time I've put a video in my blog, and I'm so stinking proud of myself it's perfectly ridiculous!

This is an absolutely gorgeous birth - one of the most respectful hospital births I've ever seen - and a waterbirth, too! My favorite!! (Hopefully preview of coming attractions for Yours Truly....)

Not that this has anything to do with hyperemesis... And this really should go on my other blog! But I was in a hurry, and this will do as well as anything. Besides, whenever I see a beautiful birth video I'm chomping at the bit to share it with everyone! There's nothing more beautiful in the world.


Life Lessons from the Front Lines

I have two life lessons from today that I would love to share with the ever-patient public:

#1 - If you leave a toddler sitting on a counter next to a bowl of honey-mustard marinade, you forfeit any right to expect that the honey mustard marinade will still be in said bowl when you return (rather than inside of the toddler). He LOVES that stuff!

#2 - When you're having plumbers over, take all severely personal items OUT of your cupboards before they get to your home! Otherwise you will have the oh-so-pleasant experience of seeing two (probably inwardly-sniggering) plumbers sitting in your bathroom surrounded by piles of stuff they've had to pull out of your cabinets, including toiletries, feminine supplies, stores of pregnancy tests and various chosen forms of birth control!! Aaackkk!! I'm still blushing!!!

Enough for now... I'm off to go shopping! I want to publish my soon-to-be-world-famous yogurt recipe soon, but right now I am in the middle of writing an enormous article on the history of American midwifery (which will be posted to my other blog soon) that is taking up all of my blogging time.

Love to all!

P.S. I have finally seen the spider who is spinning enormous funnels on our apartment stairwell. And I've discovered that if I go out at night and stare in his funnel, I can see his eyes glowing back at me! Pretty cool! I'm not an up-close spider fan, but I can appreciate them from a distance. A BIG distance.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I found the following quote in the Beth Moore study book that I am completing as part of a Bible study at my church, and I found that it really resonated with me. I have had a hard time recovering spiritually from hyperemesis (along the lines of "how could you do that to me, God?") and this was very helpful:

"Few things exist in life that Satan can take advantage of more effectively than unforgiveness. It extends an open invitation for him to infiltrate circumstances and spark memories to fan the flame of bitterness. Satan will stop at nothing to broaden the wedge unforgiveness drives between us and our Savior. Why? Because he knows that it is impossible to be filled with the Spirit and filled with unforgiveness. Only Satan wins in the war of unforgiveness...

"If we refuse to forgive, we tie God's mighty hands from 'working all thigns together for good.' He will not bring personal good to you from your pain if you do not release Him through your forgiveness. Why?... Christ has a purpose in the pain you've suffered or He never would have allowed it. Until you surrender to His purpose in the specific matter at hand, He cannot work it for your good. Do you know what that means? It all happened in vain - for absolutely nothing...

"I had no idea the ministry God would grant me through my misery. When I am speaking, the mere mention of my abuse results in a line of women waiting for me when I'm finished. They most often ask why God allowed those things to happen to me knowing that I was going to work for HIm. I look down that line of women and respond, 'For you.' God has slowly but surely ushered me to a place... a glorious place... where the body of Christ has become worth my pain. How did such a miraculous transformation occur? Somewhere along the way, I began to realize some of what it means for me to be worth His suffering."

- Beth Moore, "Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit," pp. 129-130

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Moving Forward

Well, our home inspection is set for tomorrow! We are really praying for the Lord's will. We are both totally and completely in love with this beautiful house, but we also have severe doubts as to how we will pay to live in it! So please pray with us that the Lord's will would be done and that we would not get ourselves buried up to our necks in a financial burden that we won't be able to handle!

Am I nervous about this leap? Just a LITTLE.

As life progresses this fall I feel myself little by little working into a place in which I might be willing to face another pregnancy. It's not easy. Making peace with the past is one thing, but making peace with the past which will repeat itself in the future is quite another thing. But last month's pregnancy scare really jolted me into action in terms of finishing research and getting ready, so I feel that I would be able to gear into action more smoothly if I did get a surprise baby one of these days.

Of course, I do want to wait until we're in our house, unpacked and somewhat stabilized. That would be good. But mentally and medically, I do feel like the time is getting closer when I'll be ready.

I am so thankful that the Lord has given me so much time. When I first started my monthly round of pregnancy scares a year ago, I was NOT ready for another baby (or pregnancy), mentally, emotionally or physically. HG just takes too big of a toll on one's body and mind. Now that two and a half years have passed, I feel slightly more ready.

That, and all of my friends around me are having babies! One just had a baby, two have babies who will be putting in appearances this winter, and one is soon-to-be-pregnant. I feel like hopping in! And if I had conveniently fluffy pregnancies, I probably already would have done so (assuming we're even able to get pregnant, which I don't know).

This will be a busy upcoming month. I'll post as often as I can!

Oh, and I've started making and drinking red raspberry leaf & nettle tea! I'm so proud of myself! They're both tonic herbs specifically good for women, and red raspberry leaf is a morning sickness remedy (as well as a uterine tonic for labor prep). I feel so herbalist-y and sophisticated!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wild Yam: The Final Chapter (Maybe)

For those of you who haven't read this blog before, I have lately been on a quest to discover information about the usefulness of the herb wild yam for NVP (nausea & vomiting of pregnancy). I first discovered it in a few herbals when I was doing my initial research on herbs for HG, and it was listed several times as a resource for severe morning sickness. Several other sources recommended it.

However, I also discovered wild yam on many lists of "herbs not to take during pregnancy." Kind of confusing!

And so my quest began.

I have now completed enough research and asked enough trusted people for their opinion that I feel confident in my own decision: I feel that wild yam is safe for pregnancy, and I will be using it during any assumed upcoming pregnancy for NVP prevention and treatment.

As always, you are responsible for doing your own research and coming to your own conclusions. (Take charge of your health care! Hurray!)

Anyhow, here's how the votes stacked up, for anyone who's interested in knowing:

AGAINST Wild Yam Use During Pregnancy
- My consulting OB (surprise, surprise!)
- Most mainstream on-line pregnancy sources and books

IN FAVOR OF Wild Yam Use During Pregnancy
- My marvelous midwife
- A good friend of mine who used it during her pregnancy
- Online individuals who used it successfully for NVP prevention
- The herbalist at a local shop who recommends it routinely for NVP
- Aviva Jill Romm in her book, "The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy"
- Herbalist Susan S. Weed in her book, "The Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year"
- "The Dummies Guide to Herbal Remedies"

That's good enough for me! Wild yam is going back on my HG-protocol (not that it ever really left, but it was in limbo for a few weeks). I'm going to check out my options at Sprouts, run a dosage idea past a few people, and put it in my protocol to have ready for whenever it is needed! Hurray!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Blog Review: S.I.C.L.E. Cell (Self-Induced Child Loss Experience)

Check out this blog here. It's an unusual blog that's a little hard to navigate, but you can read it by clicking on the archives. This is the blog of a woman who lost a baby to abortion after severe hyperemesis, during which she was denied care, lied to, and encouraged into abortion. Unfortunately that's the attitude of so many doctors of mums with high-risk pregnancies and high-risk babies - "Yeah, we could treat you, but it would mean a lot of fuss and trouble, so please just go get rid of this clump of cells and stop bothering me." Tragic. Utterly tragic.

Fun Post

A girl from our church's college class let me in on one of her fast, time-saving recipes, and I had to share it because it is so brilliant!

I don't even know what to call this recipe - muesli, maybe?

Anyhow, I had mentioned that I liked putting Grapenuts on my plain yogurt, and she told me that she makes up a mixture of bulk-purchased items to put on her yogurt that is incredibly healthy and fast. You can use any combination, and it takes about 30 seconds to mix up, and it's great!

Here are some ideas for ingredients:

rolled oats, regular (this is generally the bulk of it)
oat bran
wheat bran
dried fruit (cranberries, raisins)
chopped nuts

Mix, add to plain yogurt, with or without fresh/frozen fruit, and you have a great snack or a quick meal!

I'll post my new recipe for homemade yogurt soon - this is truly the simplest, easiest way ever!! I just want to try it one more time to make sure it wasn't a fluke success.

Since our DS's arrival, I have faced a dilemma - an increasing desire for a whole-foods diet with ever-decreasing time constraints. Super-fast whole foods recipes like that mentioned above, and others, are life savers!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hyperemesis Post on "Woman to Woman Childbirth Education"

Kathy Peterson has an excellent blog entry on hyperemesis - information, remedies, etc. Check it out here!

Hyperemesis on "Woman to Woman Childbirth Education"

I can't say enough good stuff about this blog, so check it out even if you don't care about hyperemesis! It rocks!

Monday, October 6, 2008


I'm afraid both of my blogs have been terribly neglected lately. Frankly, I've been a bit swamped. I've been running after a toddler and keeping house, working at church (our busiest time of the year, secretary-wise), attending two weekly Bible studies, helping a friend tie up loose ends before her move, trying out a new birth activism group, attempting to pack (as in one box per week.... or less....) and dealing with the beginning stages of our home purchase (inspection should start this week). And we're probably going to have houseguests this week! Oh, and I'm helping lead a choral ensemble! And trying to fit in social engagements! And starting a big and incredibly stressful project at church! Aaahhhh!!!

Deep breath.

Oh yes, and I forgot the most stressful part of our life right now.... ANTS. Everywhere. Literally. We are spending an hour or more a day vacuuming ants and putting down environmentally-friendly spray. It's not doing much good. This morning we got up to find them pouring in through cracks around our kitchen window and covering the floor and the trash cans and the counters. Last night before we went to bed we were trying to deal with what looks like an erupting nest underneath our telephone table. These guys can drive one to distraction! This morning I'm off to Lowe's to find something stronger. I may be an environmental freak, but there's only so much one average woman can take!

Anyhow, I'm afraid that both of my poor blogs will be neglected at least until the first of the year. By then the busiest time at church is over and our move should be completed. And by then, if we want to, it will be time to start thinking about another little one!

Our "Phoenix hyperemesis club" (myself, Sarah & Jenna) will be having a gathering for our families to meet later in the month, so that should be fun, and I will report in after that happens. I really don't think there are many HG groups out there! I've had a blast with our little group so far.

I'll try to check in here occasionally! As mentioned in my last post, the research goes on. Since I never know when another little one is going to make an unexpected entrance, I do want to be prepared. Thankfully I think that I'm almost at the end of my preliminary research - that which is required to form my tentative protocol. I may keep researching and revising from there on out, but at least I'll have a definite plan that can be put into immediate action, with backup research, without having to go into a tailspin of panic like I did last month. We are progressing!

Love to all!

Research Results: OB Consultation

Last Monday I saw my consulting OB (or rather, her representative in the form of a PA) to go over my supplement list for preventing/dealing with hyperemesis. Here are the results:

According to my OB's office....

All supplements on my list (previously published on this blog) are fine to take before or during pregnancy EXCEPT that:

- milk thistle, dandelion & wild yam should not be taken while trying to conceive, and
- wild yam should not be taken post-conception, i.e. during pregnancy

The end.

As I told a good friend last week, I am now in the happy position of having received advice without having the least intention of taking it!

I KNOW for a fact that milk thistle and dandelion are safe pre-conception. Milk thistle, in fact, is one of THE major NVP-prevention herbs out there, and has been taken pre-conception by thousands if not millions of women. I'm already taking it, have been taking it for the past year, and plan to take it all the way through any upcoming pregnancy. Dandelion I was planning to take post-conception.

The only one I'm confused on is wild yam. A lot of resources list it on the "do not take during pregnancy" lists, but it is also referenced as a potent anti-nausea/vomiting agent on many websites and in many herbals. I'm going to dive into my midwife's lending library to see if she has any pregnancy herbals where I can hash out the matter more deeply, and I'll report in afterwards.

So that's that!