Friday, February 26, 2010
This year is a new year, and a new story. We had some friends who had done the Maker's Diet last year for Lent and were planning to do it again this year. They invited us to participate in the experience with them. We read, thought, and prayed about it, and decided to join them in the journey along with two other couples.
If you've never heard of the Maker's Diet, it was designed by a man named Jordan Rubin, who was deathly ill with crohn's disease that many had said was the worst case they had ever seen. He was essentially given a death sentence. He began as a college student weighing 180 pounds at 6ft 1in tall, and his illness brought him to an emaciated, very sickly 104 pounds. He visited a gazillion doctors and tried a gazillion treatments but to no avail... he just kept getting worse. He was determined to get better and avoid his last ditch resort given to him by the medical community - surgery to remove the better part of his large and small intestine.
He began a new way of eating and thus living, but following a biblical diet and returning to the basics - whole foods in their original, unprocessed state. The short version is that he got better by eating this way, and therefore desired to share this with others, thereby creating the Maker's Diet and writing a book about it.
The diet is a 40 day experience broken up into three phases. Phase 1 is the most strict, eliminating all sugars except 1 tablespoon of honey per day, and all carbohydrates. Yes, all carbohydrates. I don't think I've been without carbs ever since I started eating solid foods as an infant.
Tim and I began a slower entry into the diet on Ash Wednesday, because we had just gotten home from vacation and needed to work on purging our kitchen of the foods we're to avoid. We began full force on Sunday. This was an intimidating experience for me, because I already struggle with trying to find a good balance between home life and work life - being a good mommy and wife (and thus feeding my family well) and being a good physician - something I love and am passionate about - serving a community where the need never ends. I felt that the only way we'd be successful would be to have a meal plan (a suggestion from a friend who had done the diet last year). So I went to town planning our meals for a week and taking shopping trips to Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Giant to ensure I'd have the right stuff in the house.
This week we've eaten well. I made several dishes ahead of time last weekend, and we followed the meal plan, allowing for a little flexibility. The food has been delicious. We've also started each morning with 15 minutes of yoga stretches. When the alarm goes off each day, one of us always asks the other if we should skip, just for one day... but then we manage to make our way downstairs for our "Morning Cup of Yoga." Sebastian has been sleeping through the night every night this week except for last night, which has allowed us to do our Yoga before he wakes up.
Before starting this diet, I had tried to research a bit about the Maker's Diet for nursing women, but to no avail... I originally found very little out there. In the past several days, I've found a little more info, but I was looking even more for answers. You see, I started to be concerned when I noticed that my milk supply while pumping at work seemed to have plummeted. I was only pumping about 1/3 of what I was used to pumping... which caused me to be a basket case. This is something I take very seriously, and VERY personally. I wondered if it was the diet, or the fact that Sebastian had been sick last weekend and nursing less, or the fact that he was sleeping through the night more consistently, or the stress I've been under at work, or the diet, or the diet, or something else... I decided to give it some time and see how the rest of the week went, but each day seemed as bad, if not worse. Watching the bottles fill up less than usual only produced more stress for me, and I'm sure made matters worse. I had jokingly said from the beginning that if my milk supply was affected, then I was out. I never anticipated such a drastic response, and I do believe that the change in supply is probably multifactorial, but as my mom said, the diet was the only thing I really had control over. Unless I wanted to start waking my sleeping baby up in the middle of the night to nurse... uh, no...
So, I called the lactaction consultants at the hospital to discuss the diet with them. They felt that if I was getting enough calories from things other than carbs and sugars, then it was more likely the other things like Seb being sick, sleeping more, etc. I failed to mention to them that I had lost 5 pounds in 4 days... and today was another pound shed.
I finally called Garden of Life, the company that published the book and is behind the Maker's Diet, and I spoke to someone on the phone at length. She told me that they don't make official recommendations about nursing or pregnant women, and they encourage people to talk to their doctors (didn't tell her I was one of those), but if they were to recommend anything, it would be to start with phase 3 instead of phase 1. That means adding back in some grains - like sprouted bread (e.g. Ezekiels), brown rice and oatmeal - my saving grace - as well as a few additional fruits and some other things.
Tim and I had been praying about this, and I'd enlisted a few other friends and family members in prayer as well. The lactation consultant outlined a supply boosting routine that I could try for several days, which I've been doing since yesterday. But when I had a bowl of oatmeal this afternoon, it was the. best. oatmeal. I've ever had. It tasted great, but I also think it was very freeing to feel supported in my decision to skip over to phase 3. Thanks, honey. ;)
We'll see how it goes over the next several days. I'm continuing to follow the majority of the recommendations for the diet, but adding in some additional food items in an effort to not shed a pound a day.
It was frustrating for me to not find very much info out there about the Maker's Diet, especially related to people's personal experiences AND nursing, so that was partly my impetus for writing this post. I did find, however, some info at this website, which I found helpful to read. I thought others might find it useful to read my thoughts, and I also thought I'd post my menu plan for this past week. I'll have some recipe posts coming soon.
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with chopped veggies & goat's milk cheddar cheese
Lunch: curried carrot soup & salad
Dinner: pakistani lentil curry & steamed broccoli
Breakfast: goat's milk yogurt with mixed berries
Lunch: curried carrot soup, slices of goat's milk cheddar cheese, celery sticks, raw almonds, grapefruit
Dinner: chicken curry, butternut squash stir-fry, salad
Breakfast: fried egg(s) with salsa
Lunch: chicken curry, butternut squash stir-fry (leftovers), grapefruit
Dinner: baked salmon, asparagus, salad
Breakfast: kefir and berries smoothie
Lunch: snap peas, curried carrot soup, almonds, grapefruit
Dinner: pakistani lentil curry & swiss chard sauteed with ginger, garlic, & tomatoes
Breakfast: Tim fasted, but I ate goat's milk yogurt with mixed berries
Lunch: Tim fasted, but I ate leftover chicken curry and butternut squash stir-fry
Dinner: bunless turkey burgers with goat's milk cheddar cheese, pan-seared asparagus, and sauteed zucchini, red peppers, onions and garlic with Herbs de Provence seasoning
Breakfast: scrambled eggs and veggies with salsa
Lunch: salad, hard-boiled eggs, and leftover lentils for Tim and curried carrot soup for me
Dinner: curried chicken with carrots and spinach, and steamed broccoli
Our snacks have included hard-boiled eggs, carrot sticks, raw pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, celery sticks with raw almond butter, snap peas and grapefruit.
We'll keep you posted on our progress...!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Our boy is growing like a weed! Yesterday he turned 9 months old! He’s been getting into anything and everything. He’s crawling all over the place, pushing himself up on all fours, and also pulling himself up onto all things, including our glass coffee table in the living room. He must think it is a good teething apparatus, because he climbs up to it and starts gumming away!
We still haven’t seen any teeth, but his grandma M gave him some teething biscuits for Valentine’s Day, which we let him try, and he LOVED! See for yourself: Sebastian seems to be on a stretch of sleeping through the night, about which we’re not really complaining. It’s such a joy to find him wake up in the morning with a smile on his face and talking.
He’s started becoming more interested in books and turning the pages rather than eating them…although, we think he might be learning Hebrew, because he seems to turn the pages in the opposite direction.
Unfortunately, he’s had another cold over the past week, which has kept us on our toes with tissues in hand. The nose has been a leaky faucet, but it seems like, bit by bit, he’s getting better. His little cough lingers on, but he doesn’t seem to mind so much anymore.
Our little guy continues to be super happy, social and friendly. We’re so thankful to have a kiddo with such a wonderful personality. It’s impossible to not fall more and more in love with him (and each other) every day. God has blessed us beyond measure!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The last day of our vacation - before catching the red eye home - we hung out at the beach. Tim & I packed up Sebastian, his two second cousins and some lunches, and we headed to the beach. It was a far cry from bathing suit weather, but we had a blast playing with the kids. And they had a fabulous time, too! Just look at the pictures below – they tell a thousand words… or at least a thousand laughs, giggles and shrieks of joy!
Sebastian LOVED the sand. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he immediately shoveled handfuls of it into his mouth.
The boys became great friends with Sebastian and really seemed to enjoy playing with him. They were so gentle and tender with him – it was endearing. This picture makes me very happy. :)
Here are a few of my favorite pics from our time at the beach (there were lots of great ones; it was hard to choose!).
Contemplating the water…
These guys are the sweetest… they call each other “brother” when addressing one another. It’s super cute to hear them talk.
Everyone was wet, wet, wet! We had the boys strip down to their skibbies before we drove home :).
And these photos just sort of sum up the good times had by all! They make me smile. A lot!
We were so thrilled to be able to hang out with my cousins during the time we were out in California. It was great to get to know the boys better and to just be with the whole gang. Oops! I’m realizing that I didn’t get any photos of the adult cousins! Gulp. Well, I guess we have to make another trip to take some group shots. That’s just fine by me… ;)
Some more photos to come later…
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
This was yesterday:
This is today:
A rude awakening! We were on the beach frolicking yesterday – you can almost feel the sun warming Tim’s face in the picture above – and today we’re home and surrounded by snow. Lots and lots of snow. Tim & my dad have been at it trying to shovel us out for hours. All in all, I think they got about 36 inches in the past week here. And now they’re calling for another 6-12 on Monday. Seriously?!? Take me back to California, where today it’s 72 degrees!
Friday, February 12, 2010
We’ve been having a great time in Califa… just chillin' with the cousins, working on a few house projects here and there, and enjoying the things of California. All good things come to an end, so soon we’ll be on our way back to the land of blizzards, where we’ll have to figure out how to get about 5 feet of snow out of our driveway to be able to park once more in the garage!
In the meantime, here are a few highlights of our stay so far…
My cousins have several citrus trees in their back yard, so we’ve had fresh-squeezed orange juice every morning while we’re here.
We spent some quality time outside working in the front yard – cleaning out weeds, laying landscaping material, and mulching. We had three very good helpers, too!
Our little guy loves being here and is fascinated by his boy cousins. They keep him very entertained and VERY happy. He doesn’t want to miss a beat when they’re around, and he can’t keep his eyes off of them! It’s been fun to watch them all interact, even though they’re at different stages in their young, short lives.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
So, the video below is a year and a half old, but I just saw it again yesterday, while I was at the groundbreaking ceremony for our new facility at 333 North Arch St., slated to open in July. This expansion is more than exciting. It's phenomenal! We'll be adding 24 exam rooms to our current 18... and more than doubling our patient visits per year. The expansion will mean new job responsibilities for me, as I'll be taking on more of a leadership role. I'm looking forward to the new phase of my professional career, but also know that it's easy to become overwhelmed by the need that faces us at SouthEast each and every day.
Lots of days at the health center are emotionally draining and tiring. My patients not only have complicated health problems, but their social, mental, economic, relational and emotional problems are incredibly overwhelming. Tuesdays are the worst. They always seems to be the longest days with the craziest things happening. I always walk away from the clinic amazed at how my patients survive in the worlds they live in AND how blessed I am to have a stable, wholesome home to live in with a wonderful, faithful and loving husband, a healthy son and family and friends that surround us, support us and care for us.
I know God has me in Lancaster for a reason, and I feel that I'm answering His call by going to work everyday at SouthEast. Sometimes the things I see and experience are awful, downright painful. And sometimes work is just plain hard. I always thought that I would go to medical school, finish residency, pay off my loans, and leave the country to work full time in missions. I've come to realize that, for now, I'm in the heart of my mission, and there's nowhere else I'd rather be. I don't know if the calling will be the same in 5 or 10 years from now. But for NOW, it is what it is. And that feels good; I'm at peace.
I'm honored to work with AMAZING people. They're giving, selfless, caring and serving individuals. And they're humble. They're great partners and they go the extra mile. My job (and my life) wouldn't be the same without them. When I'm overwhelmed with the messed up systems at the clinic, inefficiencies that occasionally occur, paperwork that never ends, and the sadness of my patients' lives, it's my partners - my dear friends - who are encouraging and keep me going. We're in the trenches together. I have an awesome boss, too, whom I heart in a big, big, big way. I know we all heart him. He's one of the main reasons I landed at SouthEast in the first place. I'm pretty darn sure I don't know anyone in my professional circles as dedicated, optimistic, brilliant, kind, patient, humble, energetic (and so much more) as this guy. He rocks. This United Way video from last year features him...and some of our nursing staff and our patients. Check out the video. It will make you smile and warm your heart.