Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hyperemesis Triggers - The Fun Never Stops!

A year or two ago, I told a friend going through HG, "Beware what you expose yourself to during hyperemesis, because it can become a strong memory trigger." She told me a few weeks ago that yup, it's true! Anything and everything can become an HG memory trigger when you experience it during the worst of your illness.

I don't have many HG memory triggers from my second and third times through - because my NVP, thanks to Zofran and the mercy of God, did not degenerate into HG. (The exception to that would be the scariest night of my life, but that's another subject. *Shiver.*)

However, from my true HG pregnancy (second pregnancy, first live birth), I have a host of HG memory triggers that are still present in my life even now, six years later. I thought I'd list some of them so that we all could compare. Here goes....

(1) Our apartment - We moved in, I got pregnant a month later and was still horribly sick when we moved out a few months later (mold infestation - fun!). Driving past our apartment, or even thinking about it, makes me feel horribly frightened, claustrophobic, and a bit panicky.

(2) John Rutter's Candlelight Carol (and others on the album) - I listened to this album (and especially this song) a ton when I was recovering. Big mistake. It's great music, but now it makes me feel nauseated and fearful when I hear it. By the way, if you don't have this album, you need it. Possibly the best music ever written. Check out the link to hear that one song!

(3) Agatha Christie novels - When I was recovering, a dear friend lent me her collection of Agatha Christie novels (the ones that I didn't already have). Now some of them, in particular "Sad Cypress," make me feel nauseated and somewhat panicky when I pick them up.

(4) Ensure and Slimfast - I think we all know this feeling. When I see it in the store, I feel a sudden need to run for the door. Oh, my goodness -the memories.

(5) Various food smells - Unfortunately, this happens all the time - just random whiffs of something that will bring back memories of nausea (this is also a carryover from pregnancies 2 and 3). I'd say that this happens pretty much every day.

(6) Marie Callendar's boxed dinners - May I say.... Yuck!! This is what DH lived on when I was ill, and the smell brings back horrible memories.

(7) Various fast food items - Ditto on the above.

(8) Laundromats - Just a random memory of, when I was recovering, us trying to get to the apartment laundromat to get our laundry done before I started throwing up again. Miserable experience.

(9) Dave's Barbecue - Sorry Dave, but the relationship is OVER. Never again. (This was the first food that I could eat when I was recovering, and unfortunately the memory is now locked.)

(10) Various memories - Things that we did while I was recovering - visiting with my Canadian family, eating out on Christmas Eve with some friends of ours - all while battling the post-HG but still-strong nausea. Whenever I recall those memories, I am once again overtaken with the fear and nausea that characterized that time.

(11) Nausea - Any nausea, and I immediately go into panic mode. I truly feel like a hunted animal. Or a trapped animal. Nausea of any kind (random, stomach flu, pregnancy) can send me through the roof.

My question is... will these triggers ever fade? Or am I stuck with the waves of fear, and the flashbacks, for life?

I'm sure there are more... but that's what comes to mind! HG friends, what are some of your triggers?

Monday, November 26, 2012

An Interesting Thought: Take a Bath?

A few weeks ago, I read an interesting tip for dealing with stomach bugs in children: When a child is throwing up and unable to keep anything down, draw a bath for the child (at whatever temperature), and stick him in - and keep him there! Apparently the water-absorption through the skin can be enough to keep a child from serious dehydration and in some cases prevent hospitalization due to dehydration. I definitely plan to keep that in mind for my family!

I also thought - would that possibly help with dehydration in cases of HG and severe NVP? Dehydration is one of the main problems with HG, and I wondered if the get-in-the-bath-and-stay-there might help with dehydration prevention (or treatment) in the milder cases of HG. It's definitely worth a try! I have never seen this recommended, but the parallels made me wonder if it could help.

Thoughts, anyone?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

One Super-Awesome Weekend!

This weekend we celebrated our annual Lepkuchen Day Open House, which was a wonderful success! We had neighbors and guests over while we baked our annual massive amounts of delicious lepkuchen, and it was a great time - even with three kidlets to look after! 

And I should say.... I really enjoyed Lepkuchen Day, even though the number of lepkuchen I got to eat was a big ZERO! Honestly, it wasn't too hard. I'm getting used to it. I think this must be how it is to have food allergies. Yes, it's a pain, but either I'm getting accustomed to the life or I'm losing those sugar cravings that they say eventually leave when one is off of sugar long enough. The smell was wonderful, though!

As usual, we completely forgot to take pictures, so here are a few after-the-fact! (Local friends - next year, remind us to take pictures!)

"There are certain things that are nice to know, especially when the world seems to go not well - the King is coming, my family loves me, and at Christmas there are Lepkuchen." 

The last batch! 

The end result, minus those that were already eaten! 


On Sunday, we went to the American Heritage Festival hosted by We Make History. Oh my goodness, it was so awesome! Loved it!! The Festival instantly became an annual tradition, and we're looking forward to next year.

Here are some of the things that we got to see:

- A Civil War battle reenactment
- A Revolutionary War battle reenactment, complete with canon!
- A working blacksmith forge
- A mountain man lean-to
- Battle camps for all sides of above-mentioned wars
- Candle-making (dipped and molds), and the kids got to make their own dipped candles
- Period music performances (colonial and Civil War)
- Period dress fashion show
- Numerous booths with fashions, tools, etc.
- Lots of reenactment actors who would answer questions, both in-person and as history buffs 
- Abraham Lincoln!
- A church service in the style of George Whitefield

On this occasion, we didn't just forget to take pictures, we forgot the camera/phone completely! So here are a couple of friends' pictures: 

The man himself! 

Marching out to do battle with those uppity rebels.  

And the candle that the 6yo got to make:

Real-live beeswax candle, in our oh-so-stylish holder! 

We had so much fun! And now, back to what I should be doing! Love you all, and have a very happy Thanksgiving!

To that end, I will finish with George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation! (I love how much we're learning in our homeschooling! I'd never even heard of this before!!)

"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness: 

"Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. 

"And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best." 

 Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789

Amen! Happy Thanksgiving!

p.s. The cricket who refused to die has, alas, died. DH and I are sorry - he was a bonny little fellow! The 6yo is convinced that he is just hibernating, and we are for now allowing this pleasant fiction to continue - neither of us has the stomach to face the orgy of childhood grief over a lost pet (again).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Time for Some Extreme Awesomeness!!!

Okay, all y'all! There's a lot of awesomeness in the world, but when we're talking extreme awesomeness, there's only one thing to which I can be referring. You all know what I'm talking about, right? We're talking about...

Placenta Medicine!!!

Yes! This blog is your one-stop refer-all site for the wonders of placenta medicine, better known as the post-birth maternal consumption of the placenta. If you haven't heard of this before, you are in for a treat!

To introduce this yummy topic, read about my first experience with placenta medicine - part 1 and part 2. Then hop over here to check out a list of links to the scientific studies supporting placentophagy (consumption of the placenta) for numerous benefits - help with hormonal fluctuation, anemia prevention, postpartum fatigue alleviation, afterpain relief, postpartum depression prevention and treatment, and milk production.

With my first birth, I had never heard of placenta medicine, and my placenta went the way of all good biowaste (*sob*). With my second birth, I had heard of placenta medicine and decided to try it - it just made sense, as almost all mammals (and many traditional peoples) eat their placentas. Why not? So I tried it. I had a placenta smoothie right after the birth, and I decided to dehydrate and encapsulate the rest.

To my surprise, the effects of placenta medicine were amazing. Placenta medicine helped my postpartum energy and moods (which were sorely tested by the severe nursing problems we experienced) tremendously. Most amazing, however, was its effect on my afterpains.

For those of you who haven't yet given birth: Afterpains are the post-birth contractions of the uterus, the purpose of which is to shrink the uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size, and also to prevent too much bleeding. They are very uncomfortable! However, with one's first birth they are supposed to be extremely mild or even unnoticeable - they then get worse with each subsequent birth.

That was NOT my experience.

With my first birth, the afterpains were excruciating. I believe "toe-curling" is the correct descriptor. They were so intense and painful that I was unable to hold the baby for more than a couple of minutes after the birth. I then had to hand over the baby to my husband and midwives to hold while I dealt with the afterpains. I completely missed the "nursing window" - the first hour after the birth when baby is awake and alert and when nursing introduction is optimal (after that, baby usually falls asleep for a few hours, and you have to wait quite a while to initiate breastfeeding). It was awful, and the afterpains continued for weeks upon weeks. It totally stank.

Enter placenta medicine!

I still had horrible afterpains. I still missed the breastfeeding window. But my afterpains (which should have gotten worse for a second birth) were so much better! It was night and day! And I only had a few "toe-curler" afterpains, instead of days and weeks of them. It was a HUGE improvement!

I was a complete convert.

With my third birth, I was determined to outwit those afterpains and have a fighting chance at a decent bonding experience with my baby. Thus, I developed the following postpartum plan:

  • Placenta Medicine
  • Advil within seconds of the birth, max dosage
  • Homeopathic Arnica
  • An afterpains tincture from an herb shop
  • Calcium-magnesium liquid supplement, taken during the 3rd trimester and during the postpartum
I made one change to my placenta medicine. Being that I was lazy and didn't want to take the time to encapsulate, and also because I was concerned that modern dehydrators go above the "raw foods" temperature limit (thus destroying various enzymes and vitamins/hormones), I decided to do all-raw placenta medicine - in the form of my famous placenta smoothies (placenta, orange juice, yogurt, mixed frozen berries). I asked a friend to take the placenta off of the membranes and to cut it up into pieces for me, which I kept in the fridge, and planned to use one piece per day in a smoothie.

Immediately, however, I ran into a snag - there is no way to eat a placenta in that way fast enough to consume the placenta before it goes bad. Thus, I asked my husband to put it in the freezer for me, and I used the pieces frozen.

Only problem - DH did not keep the pieces separate in the freezer, so all of them froze together in one huge, icy, placenta-blob. Thus, if you had come over to our house in the two weeks after our birth, you might have seen me hacking wildly at the placenta-ice-brick with an ice pick, attempting to break off a piece for a smoothie. Amusing, to say the least!

And how did this plan work to eliminate those hideous afterpains?


Wow, it was night and day! Only mild-by-comparison afterpains which dissipated much more quickly. My postpartum was a dream.

I know that the plan made a difference, just because afterpains do typically get worse with each baby. As I've worked on my plan and implemented placenta medicine and other components, they have atypically gotten better and better.

This will be my plan from now on!

If anyone has any questions or further ideas, please let me know!

Monday, November 5, 2012

On the Eve of the Next Four Years...

I had plans to do "real blogging" tonight (I have a long list of topics that I'm trying to work through), but being that I still have an endless list of things to do before bedtime, I will keep it brief.

Tomorrow is election day.

For better or for worse, we will elect our leader for the next four years. Our family is voting for one of the two main candidates, though we're not particularly enthusiastic about him. One way or the other, this country is heading in some very ugly directions, and I don't really have much hope for it in the long-term. Democracies don't last long, and ours appears to be on the way out.

But the good thing is that, as always, God is sovereign. God will use godly and good men to achieve his purposes, and God will use ungodly and evil men (and mediocre men) to achieve his purposes. One way or the other, God's sovereign will will triumph. And that is a very comforting thought, in a time when our country seems to be seized by one controversy after another, and when our nation is being torn apart by every possible wave of politics, religion, and opinion of every kind, and when civil and religious liberties are under constant fire from an ever-encroaching big government.

Thank goodness that God is in control, one way or the other.

And now... happy voting! Get out and vote tomorrow!

Unless you are voting the opposite of our family's vote, and then you can stay home.

Just kidding! Happy Election Day!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Practical Tips to Living Life the Very-Low-Carb Way

* This post is Part III in a three-part series. The other parts: Part I and Part II

Howdy, folks! As we speak, I am on day 77 of the Very-Low-Carb (VLC) diet, and still going strong. This is my second time through the diet - last year I did it for the first trimester plus 40 days, and I am still learning lots of tips of the trade. I thought that I would start a running record of notes that might help others who are trying this diet, since it's rather difficult and tricky to do. This will not be particularly organized - more a stream-of-consciousness list of notes, as they come to mind, that could possibly help others.

So, if you are trying the VLC diet for garden-variety weight loss, for the healing of some condition, or in an attempt to ward off pregnancy nausea, here goes! Feel free to leave any questions, and I will attempt to answer them - as I am able - in the comments.

But first, my brand-spankin'-new blogger disclaimer!

Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical care or advice. Please consult your healthcare provider before undertaking any changes to your pregnancy healthcare. Under no circumstances, shall the author be liable under any theory of recovery for any damages arising out of or in any manner connected with the use of information or documents from the site. 

Don't you love it?

In other words, do your own research and decide for yourself whether or not you are comfortable using this diet. I am comfortable with using this diet during pregnancy. Some people are not. Make your own informed decision. Informed decision-making is the catch-phrase of the day!

With that in mind, let's get started!

The basics:

What is OKAY:

- Meat of all kinds (check to make sure there's no added sugar)
- Nuts
- Heavy cream, hard cheese, cream cheese that has less than 1g of carbs per serving (and I assume that all-natural sour cream, made only from heavy cream, is okay, though I don't know for sure)
- Non-starchy vegetables
- I'm not sure about tomatoes - the sheets I'm using just say "limit tomatoes." I'm not sure if that means no tomatoes, or if small amounts of tomatoes are okay. For now, I use tomatoes in limited amounts, but I would stop immediately were I to become pregnant. 

What is NOT OKAY:

- Grains of any kind (this means NO wheat, corn, oats, quinoa, rice, etc. - NONE)
- Legumes/beans of any kinds, except peanuts (which are okay)
- Sugar in any form
- Fruit
- Starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips, etc.)
- Dairy other than that listed above (this means no milk, half-and-half, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.)

This, of course, means that one's diet is extremely limited. Finding a new food is always extremely exciting, and it is definitely an exercise in creativity!

You will notice that 98% of your recipe collection has now gone out the window, because almost all American recipes include grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, or sugar in some form. I know that almost all of my recipes are now completely useless (as far as my eating is concerned), so this is an exercise in starting over. Things like potlucks and parties are also now difficult, so plan to bring something that you can eat to communal functions!

Another difficulty is, of course, one's family - because they, like you, will get bored! Additionally, I want my children to have experience eating a variety of foods, not just the limited choices that I have. This means that I occasionally cook differently for myself than I do for my family.

For family cooking, I have three choices:

- I can cook things that we all can eat. - I try to do this most of the time.
- I can cook things that they can eat and I can't (and cook for myself separately). - An example of this would be sloppy joes, which I can't eat. I do this occasionally, but I try not to do it very often - because I rely on leftovers for breakfasts and lunches, and it's depressing to have the fridge full of food that I can't eat!
- I make a mixed meal. - This is where I make most of the meal something that we can all eat, and then add a side dish or two for the rest of the family. For example, meat, a non-starchy vegetable, and then rice or beans or mashed potatoes or corn (etc.) for the family. They have cheered up immensely since I started doing this - not to mention that carb-heavy dishes tend to be more child-friendly, always a plus!

Notes on the various meals:


Breakfast is.... a problem! You probably will have noticed that modern American breakfasts are almost 100% grain-based, and usually sugar-based as well. All of that gets thrown out the window. No cereal, toast, pancakes, waffles, muffins, pastries, oatmeal, etc. Farewell to the American breakfast!

As a matter of fact, this comes easily to me, as I dealt with this several years ago - I found through years of experimentation that grain-based breakfasts make my fatigue issues many, many times worse, so I have relied mostly upon egg-based breakfasts for years. "Go and do likewise!"

For breakfasts, there are basically three choices:
  •  Salad (go ahead, it's okay!)
  • Leftovers (learn to love 'em!)
  • Eggs: Fried, scrambled, poached, egg casserole (made without bread or potatoes), whatever. My favorite is omelettes, made with cheese and raw vegetables (tomatoes, bell peppers, etc.).
- Try this Zucchini Walnut Almond-Flour Bread (I'll put up the link when I find it.)

- We absolutely LOVE this recipe for Strawberry Almond Shortcake. Make with stevia instead of honey (not as good, but close!),  serve with unsweetened whipped cream, and skip the strawberries.


Umm..... See "Breakfast." I focus on leftovers.

Also try salads or sandwiches made with lettuce instead of bread (yum!). Use cheese, meat, tomatoes, dill pickles, mustard, and mayo (no ketchup or sweet pickles).


Nuts, cheese, celery with no-sugar peanut butter, olives, boiled eggs, meat.

When pregnant, I also used zero-carb protein shakes (Sprouts brand). As always, I recommend chocolate - vanilla and strawberry don't seem to camouflage the flavor as well. Do not prepare with juice or milk - use water or half-water-half-cream to mix up. You may need a Magic Bullet or a blender (or a really strong husband - my choice) to shake these up - mine tend to clump badly. I find that the shakes do not work as well as solid food in averting nausea, but they're a help when you need to be pumping the protein and getting lots of snacks.

Always travel with snacks, especially when pregnant. I usually traveled with a bag of nuts while pregnant. Even while not pregnant, I noticed that at the beginning of the diet, I had to eat very often to combat nausea. Now that I've been on the diet for quite some time, I can go much longer without eating and not have problems.

Additionally, while pregnant last time, I kept snacks near the bed - usually cheese in a cooler. I ate in the middle of the night, and also in the morning before getting out of bed (at the same time I took my Zofran and Unisom). Waiting another 20 minutes before getting out of bed really helped.


Dinner basics: Meat with non-starchy vegetables. Go for it.

Some other ideas:

- Tacos: Serve the family tacos, and have taco salad for yourself. Try homemade taco seasoning with no added flour or sugar.

- Hamburgers: Nix the bun and make lettuce wraps - they are awesome! Yum! Remember to skip the ketchup and sweet pickles (go for mayo, mustard, and dill pickles).

- Check out some of the recipes from the book "Diet Evolution." I especially love his "Angelic Jungle Princess Chicken" and his "Chicken with Green Beans."

- Try this new recipe for chicken pot pie from the Wheat Belly Blog! Skip the carrots. (Tried this. SO GOOD!)

- From the same site, try chicken and dumplings. Very good! Skip the carrots.

- Low Carb Chicken Cordon Bleu. Wow, this is amazing! I used chicken stock instead of white wine (personal preference), and next time will double (triple, quadruple) the amazing sauce. Yum!

- Instead of mashed potatoes for a side dish, try onions sauteed in butter! We did this last night, and it was great!

- Some great vegetables: Green beans, sauteed mushrooms, summer squash (yellow squash, zucchini), sauteed onions, greens (spinach, collards, kale), salad, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, sauteed cabbage, Brussels sprouts, avocado.

- Main dish salads - Topped with chicken, fish, tuna-salad (no sweet pickles!), chicken salad, chef-salad, steak.

- Avocado Egg Salad - Yum!

- Try making Fajitas - Use fajita meat (chicken or steak) with tomatoes, salad (dressed with cider vinegar and salt), salsa, guacamole. Just skip the tortillas/beans/rice (or serve them to the rest of the family). This was awesome! Make your own fajita seasoning to avoid flour/sugar additives.

- If you want to make pasta dishes, try making them with various vegetables in place of pasta. Asparagus is a great foil for a pasta sauce - but expensive! Lately we have been trying and loving zucchini pasta! Just julienne your zucchini and boil or saute for 1-2 minutes. It's great! Try it with a low-carb Fettucini Alfredo recipe, spaghetti sauce, or this wonderful Zucchini Spaghetti recipe.

- I have also made a wonderful lasagna using zucchini slices instead of lasagna noodles. Just saute slices (sliced lengthwise) briefly in hot olive oil, then use in place of noodles. YUM. This was incredible!    

- Instead of crackers, try peeled sliced cucumber rounds! They are great! Try with nut butters (always unsweetened, check for added sugars) or for cheese/meat/pickle-and-cracker meals.

- Cauliflower Bean Casserole - This is so incredibly good that it ought to be outlawed. Wow.

- Foil dinner: Put sausages, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and other vegetables of choice, in a foil packet. Salt & pepper to taste, perhaps with garlic powder. Barbecue. Yum! 

- Try various stir-fry recipes (make sure they're sugar-free!) - serve over vegetables instead of rice, or just eat by itself and serve over rice for the rest of the family.

- Barbecued meats: Sausages, chicken thighs, steak, salmon, hamburgers. Other meats: Baked chicken, pot roast, crock-pot chicken thighs.

- Baked Low-Carb Mexican Chicken. Yum! Try with thighs instead of breasts. Try homemade taco seasoning with no added flour or sugar.

- Similarly, try Chicken Salsa Verde - so very, very good! Yum!

- Make your favorite meatloaf using powdered parmesan cheese in place of breadcrumbs (or cracker crumbs or oatmeal). Not quite the same, but very tolerable. As always, skip the ketchup!

- Try a quiche - without the crust, of course! Just look up a crustless quiche recipe, or try your favorite quiche without a crust. We love James Beard's recipe for Quiche Lorraine, but any will do. Or, if you must have crust, you can use the crust recipe from this delicious-looking spinach tart (and make the tart while you're at it!).

- Cauliflower Pizza - You would think that this would have an awful odor, but some sort of chemical reaction during baking completely eliminates it, and it is awesome!!! We eat this almost weekly. I'll post the link whenever I find it again, but there are tons of recipes online, just Google!

- Squash and Zucchini Casserole - wonderful as a side dish

- I am going to try these delectable-looking Stuffed Mushrooms for Thanksgiving. (Later note: They were great!)

- Did you know that you can use all-natural xantham gum (zero-carb) as a thickener for sauces and gravies? I'm going to try it for gravy on Thanksgiving. Look it up! (Later note: It works!) Also for gravy, try this awesome-looking recipe from Elana's Pantry. (Later note: The gravy was decent; next time I'm going to try a proper recipe to make it even better.)

- Try this Chicken Divan - it was SO good! Yum!! Use her modified directions at the bottom of the recipe.

- Ground Beef Stroganoff (one of my favorite dishes) - Serve over vegetables (broccoli, green beans, asparagus).

- Did you know that you can make "chips" out of dried vegetables? So far I've tried squash chips to make nachos, and they were great! Note: I guess I didn't slice mine thinly enough, because they took 3+ hours to finish. Let me know if you try this with any other vegetable!

- Low Carb Stuffed Bell Peppers - these were wonderful!

- Eggplant Parmesan - Easy to make and so absolutely delicious! I tried the reviewers' technique of cooking the eggplant slices in a dry, preheated skillet for 2 minutes per side before putting in the casserole, then baking 20 minutes covered and 10-15 minutes uncovered to brown.

- Hot Dogs - Heat and slice your favorite hot dogs, and then put on a plate and cover with lettuce, tomatoes, sauerkraut, no-sugar pickles, cheese, mayo, and mustard! Wow, these are great!! Hot dogs also make a great quick snack (check the carbs) or an addition to scrambled eggs.

- Low-Carb Chili - I make so many changes to this recipe that it's not even funny... the most important of which is leaving out the cinnamon. However, give it a try if you want some chili - or just google other low-carb chili recipes. Anything without beans should be fine!

- Low-Carb Sloppy Joes - Serve over almond biscuits or lettuce. I like mine with melted cheese on top!

- Awesome side dish - Sauteed cauliflower. Heat equal parts butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Add sectioned cauliflower and season with sea salt and sage. Cook until crisp-tender. YUM. This takes cauliflower from "tolerable" to "addictive."

- Another awesome side dish - Broiled Brussels sprouts. - Clean and halve, coat with olive oil, garlic and sea salt, pour into a single layer on an oiled, foil-lined tray, and bake at 450 till done. Delicious.

- Chicken and Dumplings - These are amazing! Basically, this is my new chicken pot pie. Also check out the Wheat Belly cookbooks for ideas!

- Garlic Parmesan Fried Eggplant - YUM.


- The only dessert I have found so far is the oh-so-delicious Simple Coconut Oil Candies. Wow! I won't even tell you how many of these I have had today, because I ought to be ashamed of myself.

- You can have unsweetened whipped cream. Now, you go and find something to do with unsweetened whipped cream, and then tell me about it! You can try sweetening with a bit of stevia.

- I assume that stevia (the sweet herb) is okay, as it is zero-carb. We use the liquid form. It cannot replace sugar in all recipes, simply due to the fact that sugar has other properties (moisture, browning) that stevia doesn't replicate. But it is useful in some cases! However, it does have an aftertaste if used in large amounts, so use with caution. I am still gagging over the memory of the over-sweetened stevia ice cream that we made. I generally sweeten recipes with just a hint of stevia, to avoid the aftertaste. The result is desserts that are much less sweet than traditional American desserts, but it's good enough. After being no-carb long enough, a hint of sweetness is enough to satisfy the dessert craving!

- One of the main ideas of this diet is to reduce the need for sweet - so try not to focus on replicating sweets. But the occasional sweet (in my case, my daily coconut-oil candy!) is very refreshing. Good luck on the search!

- I am going to be trying this zero-carb custard (made with stevia) soon. (Later note: It was so good! I used one dropper of stevia.)

- You can make unsweetened almond-flour products. See Elana's Pantry for ideas. Remember, no sweeteners or fruit, which will cut out a lot of recipes.

- Zero Carb Chocolate Mousse - planning to try this for Thanksgiving. I recommend reducing liquid stevia to 1/4 teaspoon - from my horrible experience with the stevia ice cream, I can say - with another reviewer - that 3/4 tsp. will be horribly bitter. (Later note: This was great! I made a double recipe and alternated it with layers of unsweetened stabilized whipped cream for variety and visual appeal. And because it was just barely sweet, no one else wanted any! More for me! Mwa ha ha ha ha!)

- Low Carb Cheesecake - find one with stevia.

- Low Carb Hot Chocolate - Mix 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder and 2 Tbsp. water, microwave 30 seconds. Add unsweetened almond milk and a bit of liquid stevia, and heat again.

- A word about low-carb "desserts," and that is - no one will like them but YOU! And even YOU won't like them until you've been low-carb for a while and gotten rid of the overdone American sweet tooth. This is actually awesome, because no one wants to share your desserts, including the kids! Is that awesome, or WHAT?


-We are trying to do green smoothies... the only problem is that fruit is what makes green smoothies tolerable! However, we have found that by using only the milder greens (lettuce and spinach), we can make pretty unobjectionable green smoothies. Cold water, lettuce and/or spinach, chia seed - presto!

- Remember to keep it high-fat, or else you will discover what I did - the SNATT(Y) experience (Semi-Nauseated All The Time). Butter, mayonnaise, avocado, coconut oil - good stuff - use lots of it!

- The Big Note: Most people will find it quite difficult to start this diet after NVP (nausea and vomiting of pregnancy) has engaged - because one's body becomes a dictator once nausea has engaged. This diet is best done before conception, so that one can get used to it and get one's body in line before dealing with the stress of pregnancy. And again, I have no true idea of whether or not this diet works to avert severe NVP. I think it does, but I'm not sure. I will definitely be doing it again, and I'll let you know of how it goes. But there are no guarantees, so make your usual preparations and do NOT assume that this diet will work.


And there you have it! I will be adding details as I find them, or as people give me information. Feel free to leave questions. Most likely, my answers will be, "Good question! I have no idea!", but I will do my best. The diet directions that I have do have some ambiguities, so there are many details that I do not know. But I'm doing my best!

Good luck!

And once again, just for good measure...

Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical care or advice. Please consult your healthcare provider before undertaking any changes to your pregnancy healthcare. Under no circumstances, shall the author be liable under any theory of recovery for any damages arising out of or in any manner connected with the use of information or documents from the site. 

Have a good night, everyone!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Cricket Who Refused to Die

A few months ago, we had a few days of heavy rains that left our yard fairly flooded. On one of those days, we discovered a rather comatose-looking five-legged cricket on our front porch. Being that he stayed stationary for most of the day, DH and I assumed that he was on his way out and let him be.

Our eldest (the 6yo), on the other hand, for some reason became passionately attached to the cricket, and tearfully begged us to let him rescue the cricket and bring him inside. After some initial resistance, we decided to foster this spark of compassion for the animal world (his usual reaction to bugs is, "Can I squish it?"), and we arranged a box for the cricket and brought him in, expecting him to be dead by the next day.

But the cricket, against all odds, did not die - and so we found ourselves with a resident pet cricket! They are amazingly easy to care for - a cotton ball soaked in water, some fruit and vegetable scraps (raw, of course!), his favorite leaf for shelter, and he was set.

And then - tragedy!

The cricket escaped. We thought that he would be fairly non-jumping with one of his jumping legs missing, but we were wrong. The cricket escaped and landed on the floor - and in the recapturing attempt, his other jumping leg was lost.

Oh, crumbs. 

We were sure now that the cricket was doomed, and, sure enough, within a short time, he was on his back and not moving. DH flipped him back over, but we had to go tell the 6yo that his pet was gone.

And oh. my. goodness. This was the first time that we have had a child having to deal with the loss of a pet, and it took me completely by surprise. It is intense! My own reaction was something along the lines of "Oh, gosh. That's too bad. He was a cute little fellow. Well, let's go bury him in the back yard and get on with our lives." Our son's reaction, on the other hand, was something along the lines of "The end of the world is here." Half an hour's hard sobbing was just the beginning!

So, after an exhausting afternoon, I went back to the kitchen to get the baby's car seat.... and noticed that our four-legged "dead" cricket was now nimbly trotting about his box, munching on the odd lettuce leaf. Completely alive, needless to say.

Errrr.... Maybe we should have named him "Lazarus"!

At the very least, we should have made sure that he was really dead (rather than "mostly dead") before telling the 6yo!

Ever since then (about two months ago), "Jiminy" has been happily residing in his box. Most of us would not do too well having two of our legs torn off with no subsequent medical care, but he is fat, sleek, and quite happy. We feed him water and vegetable scraps, and he sits on the counter and watches the world go by. Thankfully he now is quite non-jumping, so while he gets around his box just fine, there have been no more escape attempts.

And the next time he dies, I think I'll go and get a quick replacement cricket to avoid the childhood death-of-a-pet hysterics!

Jiminy, pictured top left

Friday, November 2, 2012

I've Hit the Holy Grail!

I am still on my "no computer AT ALL before nap time" program, and it is...


I have now been doing this for a full week, and it is awesome. I am less distracted with internet controversies, more focused on what I need to be doing, and I have more time for getting things done.

Here is what I have learned about homemaking and motherhood: Homemaking is a full time job. Adding mothering to that is then more than a full-time job. Adding homeschooling on top of that is more than more than a full time job (if that makes any sense). In other words, there is no way that I can get everything done. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, planning, educating, baby care, organizing, you name it - it's just not possible to do it all every day, especially to levels that reach my satisfaction. But if I waste too much time on the computer, I get even less of it done than I can when I ignore the computer and just keep working. I still won't get it all done - but I can get a lot closer.

And in this case, strict legalism is the word of the day. If I get on the computer for "just five minutes," I'm a lost cause. So staying strictly OFF the computer until after our daily quiet time is working beautifully for me, and I plan to continue it. It's not easy, but it's working. I am so thankful that the Lord has led me in this direction, and I pray for more and more of His leading in my life!

Of course, as prophesied, I am falling farther and farther and farther behind in email. But that's a small price to pay, I think!

Love to you all!! 

Dessert at Last!

A few months ago, my blogging-friend Kathy sent me a recipe for the most delicious coconut oil candies (this was when I was gagging myself trying to swallow plain coconut oil in an effort to remedy my low-carb/low-fat nausea). It is delicious! I make it with a dropperful of liquid stevia instead of the honey, and voila! Yum!

Here is the altered recipe:

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted if necessary (around here... it's already melted)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 dropperful of liquid stevia, adjusted to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix and pour into molds (I use an ice cube tray), chill in fridge or freezer.

And now, to kick it up a notch....

(1) Add some salt to the mixture before pouring into molds. Because the salt won't dissolve, keep stirring as you pour into molds to avoid all the salt falling to the bottom and becoming concentrated in the last few candies.

(2) After pouring into molds, drop a teaspoon or so of salted, sugar-free peanut butter into each. Voila again! Reeses peanut-butter style, and sugar-free!

I eat one (or possibly two... ssshhh) of these per day. What an awesome way to get some of that delicious coconut oil into our diets! (Not to mention a sweet-tooth fix.)

Happy weekending to you all!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Few Random Pictures...

... from a woman who is extremely tired and ought to be in bed. And hopefully will be soon.

Have I mentioned how much I love pumpkins? Especially eating them. In every single form that I can possibly find, from cobbler to pie to cookies to quickbreads to straight-raw-from-the-field. Just kidding on that last one.

And guess what? On the diet I'm doing, I can't so much as touch a pumpkin with a ten-foot pole!


But thankfully, I have two other options: Making the dishes for my family and enjoying them vicariously (hard, but possible), and... pumpkin crafts! So here goes on the latter...

Pumpkin Pockets! We don't have color ink to print the free printables from this site, so I just made our own!


It was fun, and we're still having fun leaving notes for each other!

Secondly... glitter pumpkins, a la Martha Stewart

Picture courtesy of Martha Stewart

Did they come out like that? Not exactly... but it was fun anyway:

[Insert another pumpkin craft that I should have photographed but forgot to and am too lazy to go do now.]

Our 6yo, who suddenly showed up telling us that he was Larry Boy (a Veggie Tales character). The resemblance is striking, wouldn't you agree?

And to end... A modern miracle. At three years, two months, this is the first time that the Chublet has stood up on his own (aside from doing it on the couch, which seems to be easier for him). We are praising God for something we were not sure that we would ever see. 

Thank you, Lord! The Chublet is on his way!

I have a million things to blog about, and no time or energy, so I will only say... Happy Reformation Day! (Which was yesterday.... as usual, I'm late.) As they said five hundred years ago, Sola fide! Sola Scriptura! Sola gratia!

And on that note, which had nothing to do with my entry, I will bid you all good night. Hopefully you all will rise tomorrow less discombobulated than I am tonight!