Once Upon a Fat Girl

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Gone too long

Tons of stuff going on!

First, Nick and I went to Ely last weekend and we found a house to rent. I can hardly believe it. After two years of hoping and wishing--we're moving to Ely April first! The school is just behind the middle school, very close to my family there and is just a super cute great deal. We'll save $500 a month over our rent here!

On a much less happy note, I went to the dentist yesterday and found out that I have to have twice as much dental work done on Monday than I had two years ago. I need three fillings and two root canals, plus three crowns. UGH. The grand total: $9000--or a decent down payment on a house. We had to take out a loan, which just makes me sick. Apparently I have teeth that are prone to decay, mostly because I clench them in my sleep and have worn them down past the protective enamel.

Anyway--enough of that.

I've started taking a vitamin with lots of B vitamins. Especially B2--which I figured out I'm deficient in. Turns out that highly sensitive eyes and iron deficiency are signs of B2 deficiency--and I have both. My energy level skyrocketed from the first dose. I'm actually taking a huge amount of vitamins right now:

Flax seed oil
Calcium with Magnesium and Zinc
A multi
A Candida cleanser that has some anti-fungal properties, which will just be for a few weeks to try to clean out any bad stuff in my system
A probiotic to replace the Candida yeast with healthy bacterias


I am feeling better. I have more energy than I've had in a long time. I'm also noticing that I'm less obsessed about food. Maybe that obsession was my body's way of trying to get the vitamins it needs? Maybe.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Thinking about Nick

I've been thinking about Nick lately (how unusual, huh?) He said something to me the other day that was thought provoking.

You probably know that Nick has recently been diagnosed with mild autism. You may not know that there is an autism diet out there--no gluten, no casin. Essentially, no wheat and no dairy.

I talked to Nick about the diet. He's 13--old enough to have some say in his life, in my opinion. I asked if he wanted to try it. He said no. I said something along the lines of "what if going on this diet takes away the autism." His response was immediate and surprising.

"I don't want to take away autism, Mom. It's part of me."

My first instinct was to think this was Nick, who has a history of being fairly manipulative, trying to get out of going on a diet that would make him give up the carbs that he loves. Bread. Cookies. Crackers. Spaghetti. Ice Cream. Yogurt. But the more I think about it, the more the truth of his statement hits me.

Nick has never had a problem with himself, or the way he is. He has never, ever expressed a desire to be 'normal.' When he gets sad or upset about how other kids treat him, he never puts the blame on himself. He has the clearest idea of how he thinks the world should work and why it doesn't than anyone I've ever met. Because he struggles with the nuances of speech and social interaction, he is very straight forward and honest in his opinions and in what he believes to be right or wrong.

Nick is okay with being Nick. He always has been. Nick doesn't easily fit into the compartments we normally put children in. Like school. Or social situations. He has almost no capacity to follow rules he either doesn't understand or doesn't agree with. Most kids understand that kids are kids and adults are adults, and that there is a double standard as far as rules go (adults get away with a lot, from a kids point of view) and while they don't like it, they go along because they don't have a choice. Nick, on the other hand is incredibly vocal and hard-headed about generational differences. It's called 'code switching', behaving one way with peers and another way with someone in authority. Nick doesn't do it. His switch is broken.

But he doesn't care. He isn't looking to fix the switch.

He likes himself the way he is. And I'm stuck trying to decide if I have the right to force him to change his diet (for the few years left that I have any hope of controlling what he eats) in order to make him more normal. Do I decide that he is too young to know if he likes himself the way he is. Do I decide that he can't make the decision because he doesn't know what 'normal' feels like? Do I decide that he has to be more 'normal' if I can arrange it, so that he'll fit in better in the Real World?

Or do I try to figure out how to let Nick be Nick, try to give him the tools to control the parts of him that he doesn't like. Like his temper (he's expressed some distress about how he will be able to be a doctor if he can't control his anger.) Help him learn how to read other people and understand that he has to respect how different a lot of people are from him.

There is no doubt that the world would run smoother if everyone was the same. That's why schools are designed to crank out kids who don't think for themselves. And that's why a square-peg kid doesn't fit in a round-peg school setting. But maybe (hopefully) I can find a way to celebrate Nick just as he is, and not kill one of the most amazing parts of him--his ability to completely accept himself for who he is.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sugar-free day 2

Well, maybe for the first time ever, yesterday I didn't eat any refined sugar. Not even in pre-package prepared food.

It wasn't easy.

I went to Sunflower Market and picked up four supplements: A candida cleanse that has some natural anti-fungals (it has oregano oil in it...gross), probiotics to build the good bacteria, calcium with magnesium and zinc, and flax seed oil for the Omega 3s. I also take Vitamin C, a multi-vitamin and an iron supplement.


So yesterday I took the anti-fungal candida cleanse supplement all day. By about seven p.m. I felt like crap. My eyes were especially bothering me--burning, itching and tearing. I also had some sinus congestion and general irritability. And a monster headache. I also woke up in the middle of the night with some stomach cramping. I've read that when the bad bacteria is dying off this reaction is not uncommon. I'm going to go ahead and continue the anti-fungal today and see how I feel. If I feel any worse than I did last night, I'm going to ease off and maybe build up to the full dose.

I've decided that I'll have a better chance of being successful with this candida cleanse thing if I'm less severe with the diet part. For a month my goal is to give up all dairy, simple carbs and yeast products. I'll also cut out the high sugar fruits (the tropical fruits) and eat fewer of the lower sugar fruits (like berries and melon and grapefruit.)

I'm still not sure where I went wrong with the Mediterranean/superfoods diet. I was eating four or five pieces of fruit a day, plus chocolate and bread (which has sugar to activate the yeast) and sugar in iced tea. Maybe it was the sugar.

Dr. Andrew Weil's website says that if you actually had yeast growing in your blood, you'd be very ill and in intensive care. I tend to believe him. But he says that it is possible for the candida that everyone has growing in their bodies to get out of whack, and cause problems. The treatment won't hurt, and definitely eating less sugar won't hurt.

I bought some Stevia yesterday. It's pretty good. Way way sweet--like Equal compared to sugar. You just need a touch to sweeten a cup of tea.

Gross. I just took the candida cleanse stuff. The oregano oil is so strong. Blech.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Yeast and stuff

You know how you feel when you stay up until three a.m. watching Rock Hudson TCM or Three's Company reruns--that heavy exhaustion. That's what I've been feeling everyday, only at noon after eight or nine hours of sleep.

I talked to an old friend last night, who had a similar level of fatigue, and it turns out (after many unhelpful doctors and finally going to a naturopath and paying out of pocket) that she has candidas.

I googled the candidas symptoms and was shocked at how closely they mirror my own symptoms. Fatigue, digestive issues, sensitivity to the eyes (including styes, which I've been dealing with for the last month or so), brain fogginess (specifically forgetting words, which was shocking since I've been doing that for about a month as well), and most importantly thrush. Thrush is a yeast infection on the tongue, and I've had it since Ruby was an infant. Also an inability to lose weight. I've been eating about 1000 calories less per day for six weeks, and have not lost one pound.

So the treatment for candidas starts with a candida cleanse diet, which is EXTREME. The first three months are basically non-sweet and non-starchy vegetables, some limited amounts of grains, eggs and chicken. No dairy, no sugar, no fruit, no fermented foods (vinegars and yeast included.) Then two more three month periods, each increasing the amount of starches and sweet vegetables. Finally, after nine-months you can start adding back in dairy and fruit and fermented foods to see if you tolerate them. Which means adding them back one at a time.

In addition to the diet, there are herbal supplements and probiotics that add to and support the good bacterias in your body while you're killing off the extra yeast and bad bacterias.

I'm going to give it a shot. I'm nervous, because it's so extreme. But if it makes me feel better, it will be worth it. I have a feeling that I'm having a thyroid issue on top of the candidas. We'll see. If the first phase of the diet doesn't make me feel better after a month or so, I'll rethink the whole thing.

And if eating only vegetables and chicken and quinoah for a month doesn't kick start some weight loss I'm going to really be concerned.

In other news, our housing situation is reaching critical mass. The plumbing in the house we rent has finally given up the ghost. The washing machine backed up, so we called the landlady who first tried to make us call and pay for a plumber (I don't think so miss my-house-has-gained-$150,000-while-my-renters-are-paying-my-mortgage.) She finally sent one out, and it turns out that the simple snake job is going to be more like a thousands of dollars, jack-hammer up the living room floor type of job. The guys snake hit something that it wouldn't break through. He said it was likely that the old iron pipes had clogged up with erosion. On top of that, he tried to fix a leaky bathtub faucet and that job is going to run $1000 because the faucet is so ancient that there are no replacement parts for it.

The landlady was so bitchy to the plumber that he was actually smiling when he gave her the news.

She of course is being crappy to us. I can't stand her, there is something about her that really bothers me. I'm not sure what, but she makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

So we're thinking about renting an apartment for the rest of the time that we'll be in Las Vegas. Which sadly (very, very sadly) might be as much as another year. That makes me sick. But we talked to a mortgage guy this morning and it looks like we need to do some more work on our credit before we can get the sort of mortgage we want.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Baking Fool

Yesterday I made a triple recipe of the best mixed-berry muffins ever. And they were totally Superfoods-filled, too! The recipe has three cups of yogurt, four cups of antioxidant-rich berries, heart-healthy canola oil and organic whole-wheat flour. I was halfway through making the batter when I realized that I didn't have enough sugar, so I used mostly brown sugar and reduced the yogurt by a touch to make up for the moisture. They turned out perfect.

A few months ago I found a huge restaurant muffin pan (it's so big, it just barely fits in my oven) that makes gorgeous muffins with big tops, just like the ones at Coco's. My triple recipe actually made two dozen muffins in this tin.

I also made some lentil soup. Not only was this the first time I've made lentil soup, it was the first time I've ever eaten lentils. I think I'm going to have to experiment some more. Maybe buy a can of Amy's lentil soup so I can see what it's supposed to taste like. Even though I cooked the lentils for twice as long as the recipe called for, they were sort of--crunchy. Like beans that aren't quite soft enough, if you know what I mean. It was a weird texture in my mouth, and the lentils, to me, had a sort of raw flavor that wasn't what I had been anticipating. The flavor of the soup was good, and we ate it, but it wasn't something I'd add to my weekly menu.

I want to give bulk cooking a try this week. Here's my plan:

1. Boil two whole chickens, pull the meat and make some broth.
2. Make a double batch of navy bean soup.
3. Make some more muffins to freeze.
4. Make a double batch of granola.
5. Prepare and freeze (before baking) a tray of enchiladas and a tray of eggplant parmesan.
6. Bake some more oat bread and some rolls.
7. Prepare salad base for the week.

Besides ending up with a freezer full of ready-to-go organic, healthy food, We'll have the added benefit of heating the house with the oven all day and cutting back on furnace use.

In other news, Adrienne is auditioning for the Las Vegas Academy this morning, which is a local arts and languages high school. The goal is to be moved to Ely well before the next school year starts, but just in case (considering we've tried to move for the past year and here we sit) she's covering her bases. She's going to Ely on March 2nd to spend the rest of the school year with her grandparents, finishing out junior high. She wants to start high school in Ely already knowing some kids. My girl--a hedge better.

Oh god. How am I going to manage four months without my baby? I know it will be good for her. An adventure, that her overly-careful spirit really needs. When I was her age I spent the summer in Costa Rica visiting my best friend's family. Ely isn't Costa Rica, but the world is a different place now than it was in 1984. And Adrienne doesn't have a friend with family in an exotic location. (Is it totally screwed up that I'm incredibly relieved that she doesn't?)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

My Homestead

I've spent the last several weeks reading and researching and dreaming about moving to Ely, to my little farm.

It occurred to me today that there isn't a reason why I can't have my homestead where ever I am. There is plenty I can do right here, in the next few months, that will help prepare me (and all of us) for Ely.

Prepare me, especially, physically. I hate doing pointless exercise (treadmills, walking around the block, etc.) But today I gave myself a hell of a workout in my own backyard. I spent 20 minutes raking and picking up leaves, while my baby played with her Little Tyke's slide, and helped put little handfuls of leaves in a bag.

I got a good upper body workout in as well, kneading dough. I used this amazing recipe. It turned out perfect. For dinner I cut some slices, brushed on some olive oil, sprinkled garlic bread topping and dried parsley and toasted it up to go with Amy's Tuscan Black Bean and Rice soup and it was perfect.

Amy's makes the best soup ever. I love the butternut squash, too.

Here are some things I'd like to do in this spring, before we move in June:

1. Finish cleaning up the backyard.

2. Clean and disinfect all my pots and get them ready for the move.

3. Grow some herbs and veggies in pots. This is possible here, since Vegas has a spring growing season that ends in June or July. I'm not going to go overboard, but there isn't any reason for me not to grow some greens and radishes and herbs at least.

4. Make bread three times a week (that's a good 15 minutes of heavy upper body workout!)

5. Walk to the grocery store at least twice a week, instead of driving.

6. Refinish two dressers, two desks and two bookshelves.

7. Throughly declutter my house.

8. Put up whatever left over or extra produce from the CSA that I can.

I feel better today than I have in a while. Not as tired, not as cranky. I started taking vitamins at the same time as the Thyroid Support (iron, C and a multi) so I'm not sure what's helping, but something is. I think it might be the iron, since I do have a tendency toward anemia.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Icks

I feel like I'm losing my mind lately. I'm so damn...absentminded.

I went to the grocery store on Saturday, got the baby out of the car, walked my cart inside--then realized I was wearing my slippers. I forgot to put on shoes, for christsake. Oh, and a couple of weeks ago I left my car keys on the roof of the van--they are now somewhere in the vast desert between our house and my dad's in Logandale. (I think. I can't even really remember if that's what I did with them. Regardless, they are gone.)

And I keep losing words. A word that I should know is just gone for a few mintues. It's freaky.

I'm also freezing, and a little crabby (think mild to medium PMS) and I am so tired. So incredibly tired. I took a two hour nap today, sitting straight up on the couch. I sat down to watch the news at one and woke up two hours later.

So I think it's my thyroid. I've been to the doctor once before for similar symptoms, right after I had Ruby. My thyroid test came back normal--even a little high. So I think maybe I have some sort of weird thyroid that overworks or normalizes during pregnancy (hence at least 40 pounds lost during each pregnancy) and then plummets after I give birth (hence at least 60 pounds gained after each pregnancy.) Then things settle down, I lose a few pounds and my weight stabilizes for the most part. I weighed about the same from six months after I had Adrienne until I got pregnant with Nick, and the same between Nick and Ruby. Now I've lost twenty pounds and everything has come to a screeching halt.

Anyway. I'm due for my annual exam at the GYN anyway (ugh) and I'm going to ask him about my thyroid. I think I may have kicked it up again by eating a lot of spinach, broccoli and cabbage (nearly everyday for the last two months) which Dr. Andrew Weil says are a no-no for people with low thyroid.

Foods that depress thyroid activity are broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, spinach, turnips, soy, beans, and mustard greens. These foods should be included in the diet for hyperthyroid conditions and avoided for hypothyroid conditions.

Anywho. I started taking Thyroid Support by Natrabio, which I picked up at Sunflower Market on Saturday (in my slippers. Damn.) And after three days, I am feeling a little better. Still tired, obviously, considering my two hour nap. But I'm less scatterbrained and I'm not feeling as crappy.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Why I Don't Join In

It all started with this this blog I read that posts articles pertaining to the housing bubble. Normally, I'm not really a joiner when it comes to these things. But they posted an article about Las Vegas, and someone posted a comment that prompted a response from me.

Someone posted saying that people move to Vegas for the low taxes (no state tax) and that people moving in from California would likely mess that up.

I said that I would be happy to pay a state tax if it meant that Nevada might not be 49th in the nation for funding per student, and 47th in educational standard in the nation.

And I was attacked.

People told me to go back to California with my leftist, liberal self.

Now I'm a proud liberal. A proud leftist. I eat organic granola for breakfast most mornings, for Christ sake. But jeez, I haven't lived in California for twenty-five years.

Someone else said something about how if I didn't like where I lived, I should move, because even though where they live has problems at least isn't Iraq. God Bless America.

WTF? I'm not even sure what to say to that. Since when does being an American mean that I'm not allowed to voice a dissatisfaction with my local governments policies? What this person suggesting that I move to Iraq if I'm not happy with Vegas? Would Iraq even let me in? What utter nonsense.

The kicker was the dude who said that the schools in Vegas are fine. It's the bad kids that are the problem, and the kids are bad because they have bad parents.

I think all Internet users should have to take a crash course in manners. "Do unto others" is a basic rule of common decency shared by pretty much ever major religion. The basic Internet rule, IMO should be: "If you wouldn't say something to someone's face, don't say it online either."

Because "all kids, and parents, in Las Vegas are bad" is a sweeping generalization that is hurtful and ignorant. And I have a good idea that if the guy who typed it had to look me in the face, he wouldn't have said it.

Someone else said that he was single, so he shouldn't have to pay for my kids to go to school. We should all put our kids in private school and shut up. I pointed out the obvious. There are no where near enough private schools for all the children in Las Vegas (or for all the children anywhere.) I guess the rich kids, in this idiots perfect world, get an education. The rest of them don't matter anyway?

My only response to that was the obvious. Giving every child a decent education (at school, public or private, or at home) is in the best interests of EVERYONE. Because, hello asshat, these kids will be ruling the world someday.

What do you want to bet these people are Baby Boomers?

So I posted most of this as a response to the attacks and ended with "this thread has made me officially sick, I'm out."

I got a response along the lines of "Shaunta's greed for other people's money is outrageous."


P.S. HAHAHA...so I just went back and read again, to make sure I had everything right. The idiot who said my greed for other people's money is ... whatever he said...also said (at a different point) "Global warming is just a religion for the gullible." So he really is an idiot. I feel much better now.

Friday, February 02, 2007

How I Made Al Gore Happy...and Got Some Exercise

Today I walked to the grocery store.

It's maybe half a mile away (maybe less,) on the other side of a huge mall, then across a wide, busy street, and at the far side of a big shopping center.

I pulled one of these with me. Only mine is a $2.00-garage-sale-bought granny cart and it doesn't have wheels on the front. I didn't notice that it would be a problem on the way there. Empty and folded up, it was a breeze to pull the cart. It was just the right height.

Opened and filled with $80 worth of groceries, it's about six inches shorter and much, much heavier and harder to steer. I had to walk home hitched to one side, trying to keep the cart from dumping my $3.50 organic, cage-free brown eggs.

Speaking of organic. I bought all organic food. My local store is Vons, which is owned by Safeway, which distributes O Organic foods. I was able to buy three...yes THREE items of fresh produce at Vons (spinach and carrots from O and apples.)

In retrospect, I think I'm going to go back to shopping at Sunflower Market for all my food. I like the idea of supporting smaller manufacturers. I especially like Seeds of Change. They make their food from produce they grow themselves, organically, in New Mexico.

I wish I could eat locally. It's impossible. I can do my best to eat more locally though. Like eating food that's produced in the West, instead of the East. (No New York salsa for this girl!) I'm lucky to be so near to California, where so much food is grown. I'm trying to talk my sister into eating locally, because she's near Boise and tons of food is produced in Idaho. She says that in the summer lots of houses just had signs in front advertising what they had for sale (tomatoes, eggs, etc.)

New Mexico is 650 miles away or so from Las Vegas. I'll be happy when the CSA starts up in March. I have a personal goal to not supplement the veggies with store bought. She doesn't sell much fruit (only melons, and apples and pomegranates in the fall.)

So I think I want to buy one of these soon. That granny cart is the pits!