Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Eating healthy in a hot and humid country

We have been eating soup for dinner most nights. Yes, I said soup. No, it isn't cold soup. Hot soup made with lentils or beans, a little bit of rice, veggies, seasonings and something to thicken it. Yes, every night. With some chicken in it every other night. Yes, I am nuts, but that is beside the point! It is the cheapest, easiest, most filling food that we can make to fill all 8 bellies every night. It is mostly healthy.
Breakfast is usually local bread or cream of wheat, fruit, juice or water and eggs (if we have them). Lunches are leftovers or something we can make up quickly. The kitchen table is our eating table and our school table, so lunch is quick. Snacks are fruit or local juice made into popsicles. I bought some silicone popsicle molds that a FB friend ImperfectHomemaker posted. They are usually $10-15 for 4 of them. I bought 4 boxes at $6.75 per box. Best purchase to bring to a hot country.
We tried to make smoothies when we first came down, but it was a major flop. In Anchorage, I bought a Ninja Blender/Food Processor from Costco. It says it liquefies. Apparently not carrots. I had a nasty brain blow out. I can't think, and it is even worse now, after having chikungunya! I feel like I need 12 hours of sleep a night, but I sleep like a baby: up often in the night, restless, requiring certain sleeping arrangements.
My paragraphs are even choppy...

Eating healthy, back to that. I made a stir fry out of whatever I had here. It had green beans, carrot, chicken, onion, garlic, thyme, seasoning pepper, ginger and other seasonings. I served it over wheat noodles soaked in a sweet sauce made of fresh squeezed orange juice, ginger and a little sugar.
I think I will start having Taleah type up recipes of what we are making. A lot of it is non-descript soup dishes, but we do have fun and our taste buds like it, mainly.
A cheeky bugger in the family said to me the other day, "Mom, you shouldn't make lentils or beans anymore. Just stick with chicken, you're good at that." Growing boy and all. He eats more than his siblings.

I have been drinking DE (diatomaceous earth) in water each day. I have noticed less bug bites and less stinky body odor. I don't know if this is because I have sweat it mostly out already or that our diet is changing. I have cravings for junk food. All. The. Time.

When I think about food I cannot have for lack of funds or God's Will, I think of the children of Israel in the Wilderness. The Heavenly Father gave then a complete food, all that was required by their bodies and more, something to sustain them through the long journey. But they wanted meat. So He gave them quail, but He also gave them "leanness into their soul" Psalm 106:15.
I am trying to be content with whatever I have and not require more of God. It is hard, but a good exercise in controlling the tongue, the lusts of the flesh and longsuffering. As if going with convenience foods is torture. I think going without food would be torture. The Son of God went without food for 40 days and then was tempted in the flesh, but overcame the lusts of the flesh to come forth pure.

I have rambled on long enough. Time to sign off.
A work in progress,

Saturday, November 15, 2014

What we were then...

It has been a long while since we have been in Dominica as a family. Four and a half years long. Our family has changed and grown and seen different places.
This picture is of our family when we had just moved to Trafalgar from Sentaroma.
Our oldest boy has begun his new life. His one year anniversary is tomorrow. All of us have grown, changed, and matured. We added our youngest daughter while we lived in Trafalgar. And we added our youngest son while in Alaska. From the time of that picture, we have moved first to Indiana, then back to our beloved home state of Alaska. The place where most of our children were born.

Now we are spending time away from the harsh winters that we had the past two years and loving the sweat-producing, energy-zapping, non-freezing Caribbean. I am not complaining at all.
When we left Anchorage, Alaska, the weather was freezing and getting ready to stay cold. Winter has arrived in the North. Usually, I love winter. I love cuddling my squishies, drinking hot cocoa, settling in to read aloud to my dear ones. Although, our current home in Alaska is a hard home to live in during winter. I do love snow and wood fires and hot food out of the crockpot.
Since last winter, both Travis and I were feeling as though we needed to have a change. He needed to finish medical school. For his sake and for our family. This is God's answer to our cry for help out of our deep hole. We had built ourselves a rut and could not pull out. From about Thanksgiving of 2013, He has continually pricked us and made us feel uncomfortable about our own way.
We are on a journey to the culmination of His plan. Each day is new and exciting and brings joy, woes, contentment and strife. We are continually working.
No, we are not on endless vacation. We don't sit on the beach most days. We get down there about 1-2 hours every third day or so. We do all the normal, day-to-day things that we did in Alaska, just with less clothing. :-)
Our days are full and happy, usually. When we first arrived, we had to acclimate. Wow, is a 60 degree change a bit to deal with! Then we all decided to catch the latest mosquito bite sickness, chikungunya. It starts with a fever, then joint pain, then itchy rash. It can only be transferred by body fluid, so the dear mosquitoes helped us. The baby was the first. I just thought he was being crabby from his new teeth coming to the surface of his gums. Poor baby! Mommy ignoring the pain and suffering. Then I bought Cetamol, the Caribbean version of Tylenol. He was pretty happy until the dose wore off.
We have been eating local food. This time down here our food bill will be less. Last time, we ate American dishes with local or imported ingredients. This time we are not buying milk, cheese, noodles, spaghetti sauce, red meats, butter, and other expensive treats. The past year has taught us (me) how to cook foods that do not cost a lot and that are healthier and filling. I do miss the freezer of Alaskan fish and meats though!!
The children and I have been down here for two and a half weeks now. This will be the place I update everyone. And I am currently setting up a call list for storm or hurricane times, if there are any. Hopefully, we won't need it...
We have more pictures somewhere. Travis said we wouldn't be settled in until 2 weeks passed and he was right. Goodnight world.

If you wish to leave comments, please be civil and kind. Disagreements welcome, rudeness and incivility not.

Sasha and Lots and Lots of Carliles

Friday, September 26, 2014

A New Adventure, New Chapter...

Here it is, 3 a.m. in Alaska. I have not been able to sleep for the many thoughts running rampant in my busy head. So much to do. So little time. Does any of it matter?

 Since we have enrolled in Advanced Training Institute, a part of Institute of Basic Life Principles family, I have been watching IBLP's Basic Seminar. A little bit here and there. It has been an adventure into figuring out what I can change about my self and life that is not pleasing to my Heavenly Father. Or rather what He can change about me. There sure seems to be a lot of it. One revolving thought is: "What would _________ think of it?" Of course, the proper question is "What does God think of it?" You know that saying that goes around social media "It is none of my business what others think of me." or some such. It is only correct for me if it is tempered through the Holy Spirit.
"What about a good name that is spoken of in the Bible?" you say. "What about being on the righteous path that shows others the way to Christ?" That is the key. Is my life lined up with Jesus' example? Is my good name in line with God's standard? or man's?
What others think about me doing God's will is none of my business, because His thoughts on my conduct are my standard, my regulation, my law. Surely it is nice when others see my efforts and are willing to lend positive encouragement. I love being praised. It is my downfall when it comes to the way others see my efforts.
Herein lies my defeat. I put too much importance on what others think of me. I have for as long as I can recall. It is time for a change. I can only control what I think of what I am doing. I cannot control you, nor would I like to control you. Free will has its upside and downside. The greatest upside is that when someone loves you or shows affection, you (usually, and barring abusive circumstances) are being shown their desire to love. That is the greatest gift we can give. Our love. Which equates to our time, energy, desire for them to succeed...

I have been having a tough few years with a family member. No matter how much I love them, they turn away from me every chance they can, except when they need me to do something for them. It is very discouraging. Lately, the relationship has gone even further downhill as that family member has found a substitute for me. It hurts. Badly. There is no replacement in my life for that one. There never can be, nor do I want there to be. Their exodus has left a great hole in my heart. The kind of hole that feels like what is explained as Broken Heart Syndrome.
God has been using this heartbreak as fuel to draw close to Him. I had thought that I was devastated until I heard those tiny whispers of comfort. My children telling me that they need me, my husband telling me that he loves me, the call to arms in God's beautiful Kingdom. He is giving me beauty for ashes. I came through the fire of my baby dying. I came through rejection by family members, those whom I thought I could trust. I came through huge waves of destruction to find His ever present hand on my life. He reigns. He cares. He is here with me. He feels my pain. He knows what it is like to grieve. He knows that my great weakness as a mother, daughter, wife, sister is the pain of rejection.
Rejection feels like someone close to me has died. And I know that feeling firsthand. I went through an agonizing few years after my son died. No one wants to talk about a child dying, or anyone dying. Maybe they don't know what to say. Maybe they don't want to interrupt the grieving. Maybe they are uncomfortable with the pain associated with death. I cannot tell what makes others stay silent when others need comfort. I can only say what makes me stay silent when I see the pain of others.

But, I digress. A new chapter, new adventure is what you are here for. My dear husband is back in med school in Dominica!! I am very excited about this, because this means that our life will have great change. Already, we have been preparing for the day of our (mine and children's) departure to parts around the 15th parallel north. We do not have tickets yet, but will be scheduling this coming week.
Travis will spend a varying time there, as clinical rotations are opened or denied him in the local hospital there. All Saints University School of Medicine is trying to procure the missing clinical rotations there so that they can offer all the required programs on island. This keeps the costs for doctors down as well as providing a place for students to finish all their required classes.
Travis has finished an ICU rotation and is currently in the E.R. rotation assisting with patients. Next he is looking at Surgery and then possibly Family Medicine.
If all goes well and he does not have to take any breaks in between rotations, he will be done mid- to late-June. The children and I will be there by the end of October. Our tentative plans include flying back to Alaska for the yearly school testing in April.

So, recap of our new chapter: Dominica, West Indies until Travis finishes his medical school requirements.
Thank you Heavenly Father for your graciousness in our goals and dreams.

This opens up another dialog of planning, preparing, fulfilling and executing our desires.
Stay tuned to keep posted. This will be my sounding board.

Sasha Jean

Friday, January 24, 2014

What made me think of health

This past week has been quite an emotional roller coaster. Travis and I and children traveled down the road from home to my sister's house to visit. We had a good visit and seem to not be bothering the relatives too much, but...
Sunday, during the football game that Travis and Bro-in-law were watching, Sister and I took children in 2 Ford trucks to Carl's Junior to play on the big toy and have some rowdy time away from the guys watching football. This was a treat for Travis and Bro-in-law. We don't have any TV at home, just Internet, so Travis does not get to watch sports, he merely sees the updates that the NFL website posts on the scoreboard every minute or so during the game. Exciting, I know. Bro-in-law and Sister recently ordered Cable just so he could watch the games in the comfort of their own home.
Back to our trip out that Sunday. We traveled over quite uneventful. Shared some food, let the cousins play... Then we headed back to their house. As soon as I put the truck into Drive, I knew something was wrong. The blinkers would not blink even when I pushed the stick up or down. The ABS light would flash rapidly then stay lit for several seconds and then blink rapidly again. And I just had the feeling that I should be getting back there or we would have to use our road side assistance package on a drizzly dreary looking night. Not fun.
I pulled into Sister's circular driveway and put the truck in Park, realizing seconds too late that I should NOT have done that. I sent a son in to fetch his dad who came running out. I relayed the message that the steering column was broken. He checked it out and pronounced it undrivable. We all went in and Travis finished watching the rest of the game. Seahawks won, thankfully, in an exciting game ender. But, the truck would need several hundred before seeing the Drive action again.

We (I use this loosely, since it means Travis, my Dad, my Bro-in-law, and my Stepdad) tried to fix the truck. Dad is a mechanic and helped us out with a great resource of Harvey at Gundy's in Graham, WA to direct our part-buying ways. Online we had read that the F350 steering column we needed could be found on a Mercury Marquis of the same year. WRONG. The part could be found on the Ford Aerostar and Windstar.
Travis and Stepdad went over to the salvage yard (aka wrecking yard, junk yard) and harvested a steering column from an F150 of the same year. Travis and Bro-in-law tried in vain to insert the new steering column. Several hours and a certain sum of money later, we found out that Ford made two models that year and the steering column that we paid for had a wrong bolt pattern for our truck. Lesson learned: just suck it up and have the piece sent from the experts - it might even cost less. We called dear Harvey back and ordered the piece - plus shipping, which made it $5 less than the ill-fated steering column from the salvage yard. 

Travis left early Tuesday morning to head back to work. And Wednesday morning I packed up 5 children into Sister's car and traveled the hour to my midwife appointments. I had a fasting blood glucose test to deal with. At 9 a.m. they called me in and drew blood. It took 2 tries. Then I gagged down a nasty bolus of glucose solution that I proceeded to keep down. Do you know how hard it is to keep a bolus of glucose down on an otherwise empty stomach? I am sure the ladies in the OB/GYN waiting area thought this woman who kept moaning and holding her stomach had some infectious disease or was having contractions! It was interesting. And I was SOOOO irritable. The children would just ask a question and I would tell them to sit down and be quiet. I am NOT a nice pregnant and hungry lady.
Ten a.m. rolled around and we had the midwife appointment and then another blood draw. Three pokes this time. The very smart tech said after the second failed attempt that she was going to get someone else to draw the blood, just in case. You think? Another tech came in and took if first try, without even hurting me. I like her.
Eleven a.m. rolled around and the first tech brought me in to draw the third and last draw. She had crackers and juice waiting for me. Only one poke and success. Glad to be done with it, I rushed out to pack up children and hightail it. Unfortunately, the littlest walking Carlile had to drop her deck of cards all over the floor and keep us there an extra several minutes. Otherwise, I would have walked out oblivious to the fact that my healthcare "provider" thinks I have gestational diabetes. By 2 points. 
So we went and ate our sack lunch at Pharmacy to pick up blood glucose testing supplies. And I have the joyous job of pricking myself 4 times a day and recording what I eat and how much I exercise. Hmmm, Winter in Alaska, ice and cold, wind and rain or snow. Not much exercising. Thankfully my Sister has a big TV that I can use for yoga. And I have a copy of Element: Yoga for Weight Loss but I have to find a good aerobics DVD.
To be sure, this morning I tested my "fasting blood sugar" and it was slightly elevated at 93, normal being 92 or under. All day, being the regular active of a homemaker and home teacher to 5 children, I worked off enough sugar during the day. My tests 2 hours after each meal were 99, 112, and 94 respectively. The norm is 140 or less. This does not prove much except that my "resting blood sugar" is higher than what they see as typical.
Nonetheless, I have been having other symptoms that require attention. My beloved friend ulcerative colitis has returned to say hello, I have been having slightly blurred vision and I have an "ouchie" that has not healed after a week of ointment. 
Several months ago, Travis' cousin Mandy blogged about the Whole30 idea of eating a Paleo-based diet. 
She and her husband have had great success with their 30 day diet.
Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re totally natural and unprocessed. Don’t worry… these guidelines are outlined in extensive detail in our free shopping list. 
You can find out more here.

Now, based on the standard of what the Word of God says, I am opposed to thinking that all of our ancestors evolved from some form of blood type evolution tree with the earlier ones being only O+ and eating only what they could scavenge. Genesis explicitly states that Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the garden. This means that God PROVIDED food for them and they did gather, but they had no need to hunt. The Word of God did not allow for animal eating until after the flood, when the Earth would have been bare of most vegetation, due to torrential floods and tides. The earliest men and women would have been gatherers, but not hunters.
These are my honest beliefs and I will not be swayed. However, I will concede that a diet as stated above will give superior nutrition over the garbage-laden processed food on the typical grocery store shelf. And, since I have a freezer filled with wild Alaskan moose, caribou and salmon, who am I to negate the usefulness and bounty of God's provision? I am not anywhere near the place where I can say it was other than His will to provide this wonderful bounty of His animals.
So, on the Whole30 Travis and I will go. I think we will also be taking our 5 children in the house for that ride. All of them suffer from different small ailments.

If you wish to leave comments, please be civil and kind. Disagreements welcome, rudeness and incivility not.

Mama Sasha