Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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Busy, Busy

*Baby pictured in post*

I had a little rhythm going and then it all got thrown off last week. First, because I was feeling a bit down. And don’t you know: it’s so much harder to do anything when you feel down. On the heels of my little pity party came the ragweed, which had me holed up in bed most of Friday and Saturday until I figured out it was allergies and took a Claritin on Saturday (Sudafed, my standby for colds, had behaved very poorly against my headache and stuffiness). So bullets today?

  • Saturday night, we (TCU) lost our season opener against LSU. We had a few friends over (including our godson, sporting DH’s TCU hat) and it was fun to be back in the swing of college football. Last season had me lamenting with a “couldn’t we at least have a good football season” post, but Saturday night we looked pretty good despite the loss. I’m cautiously optimistic this season will top last year’s. Well, and I really, really hope it does! We have season tickets this year (so excited) so we’ll be heading to Horned Frog country this weekend for our first home game. Yay!

Our Godson Rooting for TCU

  • On Sunday and Monday we labored. That’s what you’re supposed to do on Labor Day, right? When we bought our house last year we planned to turn the study into a little library with cabinets and bookshelves to the ceiling to house all of our books. (And we have a LOT of books.) Sunday and Monday, DH’s parents were over to help us hang wallpaper and do some painting and move some electrical outlets (two outlets will be behind cabinets and had to be moved up). We have had the cabinets in boxes in our living room since May, so I’m really excited we’re finally getting started putting things together. Hanging wallpaper wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be. It is going to be the backdrop of the bookshelves. DH and I finished painting the rest of the room last night–a deep, denimy blue. I love it! I’ve inserted a couple of pictures of our progress so far. Can’t wait to get it all finished!

One Piece Up

Painting the Library

The Wallpaper and Paint

  • Last week I had training to be a core group leader for my Bible study, and tomorrow the ladies will come for the first day. I’m so nervous and slightly overwhelmed and excited… and still a little wiped from the work we did this weekend.
  • Today is my 11th day completely gluten-free. It has not been as challenging as I expected–there’s always gluten-free pizza if I really am craving it. And we found the most delicious gluten-free whole grain tortilla chips on Sunday at our HEB. Yum! The hardest part is when we’re with others … but I did stand firm and turned down pasta salad and brownies the other day at a lunch with ladies in my Bible study (thankfully there were some gf options).

Hoping to get into the swing of things and back into my routine soon. I like routines.

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Five-Minute Friday: Last

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only–no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “Last.” Here goes . . .

~~~

Last sometimes feels like left out.

Infertile and longing for children while everyone else is moving forward, moving on to seconds or thirds, toddlers or preschool. Left out of–or lost–in the conversations mothers have about what they feed their babies and what items are a must and which things aren’t worth the money. Left out of the conversations about how hard it is to leave the little one at the church’s daycare for a few hours the first time. How hard it is to send her to kindergarten.

And it’s tough. Especially when you thought you’d be there with them. Not running lap two of four when everyone else is finishing their mile run.

But, maybe last isn’t going to be so bad after all.

While I’m waiting, I can choose to be included in their families. I can watch with joy at the wonder on a child’s face when she sees that butterfly or the excitement when he pets one of my dogs.

My Sweet Puppies

While I’m waiting, I can take time to learn the things I want to know before I have children. I can learn how to efficiently keep my house. How to eat better. What nutrition theories I think make sense.

While I’m waiting I can finish projects. Read more. Write more.

And when my turn comes, I’ll know more. And my friends will have so much wisdom to impart. And I’ll be the beneficiary of their experiences, their trials, and their joys.

Maybe last is right where I need to be.

TIME

Five Minute Friday


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Grab Bag: A Recipe, Hot Air Balloons, and Healing

Today is a hodge podge of things I want to talk about–a sort of set of mini-blog posts.

Gluten-Minimizing

Ummm, so I’m not as disciplined as I should be. There are so many tasty gluten things out there! We have successfully been eating only gluten-free food when we’re home. So that’s good. But there are so many little tests when we’re out with others. I guess that’s okay. We are debating cutting gluten completely for 21 days and then reintroducing to see if we have any actual adverse effects from eating gluten. But whether we do or not, we will continue to keep minimizing gluten on the understanding that, like most Americans, we probably generally consume too much. We are working on selecting a start date for that 21-day thing. We are going to someone’s house we don’t know well for dinner on Friday, so maybe we will start 21 days on Saturday? That way we won’t inconvenience our hosts.

In my eating gluten free, though, I created a super delicious, super easy dish by accident. We eat a lot of quinoa, but I find it takes a lot of seasonings to make it tasty. The other day, I was craving tomatoes, so on a whim I threw a can of diced tomatoes into my rice cooker with the quinoa. It was delicious. I may never eat quinoa without tomatoes again. Unless, of course, it’s in a specific recipe. So, for tomato quinoa:

1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 c. dry quinoa
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces or whatever)
1 c. water

Put the olive oil in the rice cooker. Swirl around until the sides and bottom are coated pretty evenly. (This helps tremendously with clean up later–seriously. We do it for any grains that go in the rice cooker). Dump in quinoa. Dump in full can of tomatoes (don’t drain the can). Add 1 c. water. Turn on rice cooker. When the rice cooker pops, fluff and let stand (with the lid on) for about ten minutes. Enjoy.

Lemon Chicken and Tomato Quinoa

Last night I made a delicious lemon chicken (I used dried spices because I don’t have fresh–one day I will have an herb garden) and served it with this quinoa. It was so easy and tasty and completely gluten free! Yay! A new go-to meal for us, I’m sure. Note that the chicken has to marinate for 2 hours–I hadn’t read the recipe on Monday when I planned to cook this until it was too late. Ooops. (I followed the recipe as written, except I doubled it. I used the same amount of thyme and rosemary as it called for but dry–so I didn’t double the spice amounts.)

Hot Air Balloons

So, DH loves me. Before we knew we were infertile, I was constantly designing and redesigning our nursery in my imagination. The last theme I had settled on before our diagnosis involved hot air balloons. The reasons for this are probably apparent (who doesn’t love hot air balloons?). After our diagnosis, hot air balloons came to symbolize–to a certain extent–our hope for a baby. I may or may not actually decorate the nursery with them. But for my birthday (last week), DH got me a beautiful hot air balloon charm (from Fossil) that I wear on a necklace. It’s our little way of saying we haven’t given up hope. And it’s pretty. Other people can see it, but only we know what it means. I love it! He is so thoughtful and good to me!

hot air balloon charm

Healing

To end, I just want to leave you with a quotation from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling for August 20 (we read it together before bed). The whole entry for yesterday is beautiful, but here is just a part of most of it:

I am a God who heals. I heal broken bodies, broken hearts, broken lives, and broken relationships. My very Presence has immense healing powers. You cannot live close to Me without experiencing some degree of healing. However, it is also true that you have not because you ask not. You receive the healing that flows naturally from My Presence, whether you seek it or not. But there is more–much more–available to those who ask. . . .

When the time is right, I prompt you to ask for healing of some brokenness in you or in another person. The healing may be instantaneous, or it may be a process. That is up to Me. Your part is to trust Me fully and to thank Me for the restoration that has begun.

I rarely heal all the brokenness in a person’s life. Even My servant Paul was told, “My grace is sufficient for you,” when he sought healing for the thorn in his flesh. Nonetheless, much healing is available to those whose lives are intimately interwoven with Mine. Ask and you will receive.”


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Gluten-Minimized Diet

This week marks the start of our “gluten-minimized” diet. As I mentioned last week, infertility has really encouraged us to make some changes to our diets. Apparently gluten can be blamed for a whole host of problems, so we’ve been thinking about minimizing gluten anyway.

DH at Acupuncture

DH at Acupuncture

On Saturday, at an acupuncture appoinment, we asked the doctor (she is an MD–and used to be an OB/GYN practitioner) about gluten. Her thoughts:

  • Most Americans eat too much gluten.
  • No harm can come from minimizing the amount of gluten in our diets.
  • Being completely gluten-free isn’t necessary unless a disease or severe intolerance is present (such as celiac), but we may see benefits from cutting back on our gluten intake.

That last point was really what we wanted to know. Is gluten an all or nothing deal? A lot of people claim that it is, but we aren’t ready to be dietary extremists. The idea of getting rid of gluten when eating at home is a little overwhelming (DH loves his whole-wheat cereal, for example), but manageable. But getting rid of gluten in our diets when out to eat or at a friend’s house seemed too much. At least, more than we’re willing to commit to for now.

So, beginning with this week, I am no longer buying or making foods with gluten in them. To clarify, I’m not worried about trace amounts, like in some condiments. We are trying to make gluten-free choices where possible when we do go out to eat. And when we’re choosing the restaurant, we’re trying to go places that will have healthy options. But when we’re with others, our motto is flexibility.

So why gluten-minimized?

We’ve come to the decision gradually. We hemmed and hawed about it quite a bit before deciding officially (this weekend) to take the plunge. We’ve debated. And there are several reasons we decided to do this.

  1. I read this article discussing how gluten acts like glue. In bread, this is how it traps the air bubbles that yeast releases. For some reason the thought of what that meant gluten might be doing in my stomach and intestines suddenly seemed really repulsive. That may not have been a deciding factor, but it’s helped keep my desire for breads at bay.
  2. When I read through the symptoms of gluten intolerance (and celiac), I was alarmed at how many sounded familiar to me. If severely reducing gluten could get rid of or minimize my fatigue, near-daily headaches, occasional migraines, and unexplained muscle and joint pain, I’m in. So beyond worrying about the link between infertility and gluten (which is apparently actual for people with celiac and possible for people with gluten intolerance), maybe cutting back on gluten can help my health.
  3. I can’t find any downsides to significantly cutting back our gluten intake. The websites that caution against cutting gluten all talk about how gluten-free foods (as in processed foods that are made without gluten) may in some cases be less nutritive than their gluten-filled counterparts. They talk about the importance of getting the nutrients that we need–which means eating more whole foods, healthy meats, etc. But none of them have presented any convincing evidence that eating gluten is beneficial or necessary for a healthy diet.
  4. The real deciding factor is that we don’t want to get to the final steps of treatment and feel like there may have been something else we could have done. If cutting gluten has a chance to help relieve or lessen our infertility, we’re going to try it.

So that’s it. I may venture into the world of gluten-free baking at some point (been craving banana bread, so that will likely be first) and I am definitely not cooking with gluten. If I come across (or create) something especially delicious or disastrous, I may share in coming weeks.

*And, of course, a gluten-minimized or gluten-free diet may not be for you. If you are concerned, please consult a medical professional. I am not a medical professional.*


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Conscientious Eating

Now, a year into our official IF diagnosis, I can look back and see a few ways that we have actually benefited from infertility. Would I have chosen infertility as the mode for these benefits? Probably not. But it wasn’t my decision, and I’m trying to make the most of our circumstances.

One of the benefits of infertility for us has been the improvements in our diet. Well, I guess more than that, the improvements in how we think about food. If we ever do receive the blessing of children, I am confident that this knowledge and how we are incorporating that knowledge in our meals will be beneficial for their nutrition as well. And I doubt we would have cared very much about this subject had we not received our infertility diagnosis.

Cucumber and Avocado

As we dove into research about infertility, a few things kept coming up about the food we were eating. Recognizing that infertility is ultimately a health issue–that we are dealing on some level with an imbalance in hormone levels–we have embarked on a journey to try to improve our health. This includes exercise, going to bed at a reasonable hour, and, of course, eating better. To clarify, we’re not trying to improve our diets in an effort to lose weight (though, I must admit, there is a little extra hanging around my hips that I wouldn’t mind getting rid of). 

Lucky for me, DH will eat anything. (Seriously. If he doesn’t like a food but is convinced of its health benefits, he will eat it anyway.) And the foods I don’t particularly like, while bordering on un-American, tend not to be good for me (hot dogs, potato chips, lunch meat). So making adjustments to improve our diets isn’t so much of a problem of not liking nutritious foods as it is not knowing where to start.

As I started researching all things nutrition, I quickly found myself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information. And it’s not straightforward and scientific: everybody seems to have their own opinion. Cut gluten. Cut dairy. To be healthy, eat more fats. Cut out all the fats. Follow a simple “calories in, calories out” equation. Don’t pay attention to calories, but eat whole, healthy, natural foods. Low carb. Paleo. No refined sugars. No sugars at all (maybe or maybe not including fruit). Take a teaspoon of [enter choice: honey, apple cider vinegar, cod liver oil, grass-fed cows’ butter, all of the above] daily. And on and on and on.

I haven’t figured this out yet. Not even close. But I thought I’d share what we are doing and what I am learning as I keep trying to distill the information I have and, where applicable, share some healthful (or maybe not, depending on your take on the theories alluded to above) recipes or meals we have enjoyed.

We’re considering some more drastic changes going forward. But we also want to be flexible. We’re not extremists, and that extends to our nutrition. If I’m at your house for dinner, I’m not going to be checking ingredients and debating whether to eat what you’re serving. I’m not going to choose not to go out with friends because the restaurant won’t have healthy options (and, sadly, most of the restaurants here in Katy are lacking nutritious food). But we are trying to make healthier decisions when we can.

The overarching theory we’re kind of following–if it can be boiled down to any overarching theory–is that whole, unprocessed foods are likely more healthful and nutritious than their processed counterparts. Of all the nutrition information I’ve read, that makes the most sense to me. I’ll go into more detail on what we are and are not eating in future posts.

If you’re trying to eat better, where did you start?

What advice would you share with someone trying to make improvements?

Is a gradual approach better than nothing, or do you need to go all or nothing to see health benefits?

What theories of nutrition do you absolutely buy into–or absolutely disagree with?