ourhhh

Our Happy, Healthy Home – Our continual efforts to improve our family through faith, food, and fun.


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Going against the grain

Grains

Wikipedia

Knowing that sugar can cause so many health problems is a great start, but there are so many other things that contribute to our health. I’m sure by now most people have seen the USDA My Plate guidelines that show over 25% of our diet should consist of grains. Does the science back up these guidelines?

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Consider the following.

  • Grains are carbohydrates, and as such are broken down into sugar during digestion. Grains found in white flour and pastas contain very little fiber or other nutrients, unlike fruits and vegetables.  (Harvard)
  • Gluten, found in most grains, contains gliadin, a protein that has been shown to increase gut permeability or “leaky gut” even in people without autoimmune conditions. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16635908)
  • “Leaky gut” is a precondition to developing autoimmune conditions. (Fasano Interview)
  • Grains and seeds contain phytic acid which acts as an antinutrient by blocking the absorption of essential minerals such as zinc and calcium. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16632176)

The benefits from a diet containing 25% of calories from grains just don’t seem to add up. Why would I choose to eat something that will increase my blood sugar without providing other nutrients, increase my chance of developing “leaky gut” and autoimmune conditions, and block the absorption of essential minerals?

Our family has been gluten-free for five years. The first four years we substituted other grains and starches in place of gluten. During that time we saw definite health improvements including weight loss, decreased digestive issues, decreased joint pain, decreased skin reactions, and even potty training success with one child after months of failure. We knew that we were making progress toward good health, but some problems were not resolved. Last spring, on the advice of a wonderful doctor, we decided to cut out grains, starches, and sugars.

At first I was completely overwhelmed. We already didn’t eat gluten, casein, soy, and corn. It seemed like the list of foods we could eat was tiny. My kids were sure they would starve, and I was beginning to think they were right. I decided to put away all of my cookbooks and recipes and start from scratch. I didn’t need to recreate old favorites – I needed to find new favorites. I wish I could say that I took the time to plan healthy, tasty meals before we eliminated grains, starches, and sugars, but I didn’t. I just jumped in with both feet. Pinterest became my best friend.

After the first couple of weeks of adjustment I found that cooking was actually easier. There was no need for complex recipes because good food tastes good. The kids started eating more at meals and stopped asking for snacks 30 minutes after a meal. I had more energy than I could remember, even with a nursing baby. Other health issues that we had seen improvement in once going gluten-free were reduced further or completely eliminated. One of the most noticeable changes was in everyone’s mood. We felt better and were happier.

I don’t regret the changes we have made, and I don’t find them a burden. I do have to plan ahead to avoid eating out. I take our food to any event we attend, and I make my children’s meals for church summer camp. Our life is different than before, but only in a good way. If you are struggling with health issues, I encourage you to make healthy changes to your diet. It is definitely worth it!

I almost forgot to mention a lifesaver for my family. As careful as we are to avoid gluten, occasionally someone will accidentally be exposed. We have found that Young Living Therapeutic Grade essential oils can help minimize some of the unpleasant symptoms of exposure. To read more about how DiGize, Valor, and Frankincense helps us, check out my post on “What to do if the Gluten Monster attacks?”.

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Sweet Temptation

Everyone knows that too much sugar is not good for you. Tooth decay, weight gain, and diabetes are commonly linked to too much sugar consumption. The problems with sugar, however, are so much bigger and effect so many more people that it is amazing.

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I’m on a mission

Yesterday I attended a Vibrant Health Symposium taught by Dr Tom and Evangeline Reed, Jenny McMillon, and Dannette Goodyear, ND, that set me on a mission to fine-tune our family’s health. There was so much wonderful information shared that my head is still spinning. I took over 30 pages of notes during the six sessions.

  • Ancient Remedies, Modern Cures
  • Healthy Gut, Healthy Life
  • Surviving in a Toxic World – The Problem
  • Surviving in a Toxic World – The Solution
  • Natural Solutions to Common Behavioral Issues
  • The Art of Joy

Did you know?

Obviously what we eat, clean with, and put on our bodies is very important. I’m will be posting more information from the Symposium and how I am using that information in our family over the next few weeks. If you are interested in hearing more about these topics, please follow OurHHH. If you have any questions, please let me know in a comment.


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What to do when the gluten monster attacks?

Our family follows a strict gluten-free diet for many reasons. Most of the time we are successful in keeping the gluten monster out of our lives. Sunday we were attacked on three fronts. Three kids got into gluten in one day! If you have never experienced the out-of-controllness (is that even a word?) that follows gluten, you have truly been blessed.

The fallout included an adorable one-year-old that fussed non-stop, was super sleepy, but would only sleep for an hour at a time. Our three-year-old princess was up all through the night with night terrors. The most affected, however, was our super sweet nine-year-old son. He was bounce-off-the-walls, roller coaster emotions, no focus, no fine motor skills glutenized. Not a pretty sight. Continue reading


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Pick Up Sticks

ImageDon’t you just love it when God gives you an opportunity to serve? Our family was blessed with a chance to help dear friends that had their tenth baby on Tuesday at 32 weeks gestation. Mom and baby are doing great, but with 6 other children at home, it was impossible for dad to spend as much time at the hospital as he wanted. Thankfully we have a van to transport and lots of floor space for pallets.

I quickly realized that with 13 children in the house, our normal morning and evening chores just weren’t going to cut it. If each child left one thing out of place an hour (only one?!?!?), we would be buried in clutter by evening chore time. I had just a few minutes to come up with a plan that didn’t involve me doing all the work and was fun. God dropped just the right idea into my brain – Pick Up Sticks. (Well, it started as cards, but has evolved into sticks.) Continue reading


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Meat Muffins

Meat loaf is one of my favorite comfort foods. Unfortunately, my family has never really liked it. I could get by with serving it once every 3-4 months as long as I didn’t expect anyone to eat leftovers. When we stopped eating all grains, I thought I would just have to give up meat loaf altogether. My total lack of meal planning one night led to an amazing discovery – grain-free meatloaf that my whole family actually likes. I decided to cook our meat loaf in muffin pans to speed up the cooking process because I was in such a hurry. My kids thought that was great, so I have never tried in a loaf pan. For fun, you can make mashed sweet potatoes or mashed carrots and “ice” the muffins. Peas make great meat muffin “sprinkles.”

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