Praises & Mesothelioma

I have to start by saying how amazing it is how the Lord works. Just the other day I asked God out loud if I should even be blogging. I've contemplated giving it up a few times and so I asked Him to guide me, to let me know what direction I should go. Literally, just a few hours later I got my response! I received an email asking if I could help spread awareness about mesothelioma from a family who had experienced the nasty diagnosis first hand; they really wanted their story shared. And so I am more than honored to fill you in on what mesothelioma is but first lets meet the family...
Cameron, Heather and their beautiful daughter Lily Von St. James

At the age of 36, just weeks after giving birth, Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. I'm sure you are wondering what mesothelioma is. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that attacks the lining of the body cavity called the mesothelium. The only known cause is exposure to asbestos. On average, individuals who are diagnosed with this type of cancer are given only 10 months to live. Scary! God was not ready to take Heather home though... He had a different plan for her and her family. She underwent a life saving surgery that included the removal of her left lung. Now she is thriving, able to help others who need support and spreading awareness alongside her family. Praise the Lord!
I hadn't heard the name mesothelioma before but I had heard about asbestos. My high school had been condemned a few years after I graduated due to asbestos. The high school had to be rebuilt. The scary and sad part is around 30 million pounds of asbestos are still being used in the United States today... in homes, schools and commercial/industrial buildings! On July 12, 1989, the EPA issued a final rule banning most asbestos containing products. In 1991, this regulation was overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result of the Court's decision, only a few asbestos-containing products remain banned. Infuriating if you ask me! I'm sure it comes down to government/people who are so money hungry they don't care about the well being of others... this happens way too often. People need to HELP others and create a safe environment!

This year 10,000 Americans will die of asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer or mesothelioma and 200,000 will be living with asbestos. Asbestos isn't just an American problem though, it is also being used in building material in several developing countries including Brazil, India, China, Russia and Canada. Mesothelioma commonly sits inactive in the body for 20-50 years after initial exposure to asbestos so the most common ages being diagnosed are between 50 and 70. Second hand exposure from parents or spouses who worked closely with the asbestos is also an alarming problem so please help share this information!

This is a preventable cancer. Help get rid of asbestos, spread the word! More information about mesothelioma can be found HERE.

Thank you Cameron and Heather for sharing your story!

And so it looks like my blog will be staying around a bit longer. God's pushing on my heart... if I can inspire, support, share awareness for someone else, even just one on this little online space of mine, that is good. :)

Have a blessed weekend! 
Do something good for someone else and spread the word about mesothelioma. ♥


Bread and Health

Most people eat bread without thinking too much about it. Growing up, bread was one of my favorite additions to a meal. Mom's homemade buns right out of the oven with melted butter was one of the best treats. As I grew older we heard more about health benefits of wheat bread vs white but still I enjoyed either one. Bread didn't become a big deal until we learned of my daughter's wheat/gluten and egg allergy. Boy did that narrow down the kinds of breads one could enjoy. We tried a variety of kinds from the health food aisles and nothing was very good. Many were dry and pretty tasteless and if you happened to find one with taste, it wasn't good. When my health was failing (Celiac Disease, leaky gut, hypochlorhydria, Candida...) I worked hard on overcoming many of my illnesses and all bread was removed from my diet. Something that worked for me while detoxing/cleansing my body was removing all grains, including gluten free grains. I recently felt my body was ready to reintroduce some of the grains/flours again. It had to be a homemade bread though with no sugar, yeast, soy, nuts, eggs, or gluten added. I wanted the healthiest bread I could get yet have some good taste. Praise the Lord, my first experiment turned out pretty darn good. I have now made it a few times and Kaelyn loves it and asks for it at every meal and snack time. :) I'm still working on some tweaks and want to try a different size loaf pan before sharing the recipe.

I need to add what a difference flours can make. Teff flour was one of the gluten free flours I used for the above pictured bread that turned out good and worked well for our bodies/tummies. One day I ran out of teff and decided I'd try millet. Not only was the bread a lot more crumbly but Kaelyn and I both got horrible rashes shortly after eating it. Apparently millet is a high glycemic food which could be a reason we reacted poorly. Thank the Lord, there were no feelings of explosions in my stomach and no major setbacks! Not too long ago I would have been curled up on the couch with horrible stomach pain and seriously bloated. This time my symptoms consisted of an itchy rash on my face but it was gone by the next day. Now we know, millet is out of my cooking. :)

For quite some time I had been worried about the foods we ate, what vitamins we were missing, trying different products in hopes of becoming healthy quickly. Ha, ha there is no real quick health cure, at least not to a seriously damaged body like mine. Anyway, one day I was talking to the Lord (yes I pray a lot during the day) and said I have done all I can do, it is all up to You to heal me, I give up trying to do it on my own. I'm sure He shakes His head at me several times a day when I think I can do things on my own. Ha! Trying to learn that lesson. It is hard to be patient. I asked Him to just guide me on foods and work His healing touch through my body. The good news is I know He is answering my prayers! Healing is happening! I needed to step back, simplify and pray. Once in awhile I still do worry/get nervous about trying new foods. I would love to reintroduce honey but I do not want a big setback and I really don't want the Candida in my gut to get out of hand again. It will be awhile before I try it, but I know I have to do better about relying on Him... for everything. I am definitely a work in progress. :)

A verse that spoke to me today:

Do Not Worry
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, 
what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. 
And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a 
single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
Luke 12:22-26


Friday Favorite {Recipe}

After a complete diet change and lots of time experimenting in the kitchen, I feel I have learned a lot and have come up with some pretty good allergy friendly/Candida free recipes. I have to admit, I was scared of cooking or sharing my food with others in public. I knew my taste buds changed a lot after eliminating sugar and eating totally different foods. When our family bible study started, everyone was suppose to bring food to share beforehand. I was a little freaked out about it. Kaelyn and I couldn't eat other people's food so I had to prepare a main dish that everyone could have. I was worried that no one would like/eat what I made... it doesn't always look the most appetizing. I had to focus on my family though and I knew what I could cook that my daughter liked and was good for her. So one of my first dishes I made for others was my cabbage casserole, and to my great surprise it was a hit! People (without food issues) were asking how I made it! This was shocking to me! And recently I made it for a church potluck and it went over the same. More people wanted the recipe so I figured I'd share it here as well.
These organic ground turkeys are a little less than a pound. I purchase them in the frozen health food area in HyVee. Their price is better than specialty health food stores.
I like quite a bit of seasoning for lots of flavor. Beware, the more turmeric you add, the yellower the dish will be. I like to make a large pot full so we have leftovers and K has some to take to school for lunch.
{click on recipe image card then right click and go to print}
Hope you enjoy the dish. Have a fantastic weekend!


What We Eat for Enduring Health

Several bloggers blog about what they wear. Well unless you really want to know our latest and greatest thrift store/second hand finds, what we wear wouldn't be all that thrilling. :)

What I do get asked often is "What do you eat???" This question always pops up when someone finds out all the allergies and food intolerances my daughter and I have to deal with. The list of foods we can't have is pretty long: dairy, wheat ~ all gluten products, eggs, peanuts, nuts, nightshades which include potatoes, peppers, tomatoes to name just a few of the main ones, corn, soy, legumes, fructose, starches and sugar. Even gluten free grains were out while healing from Candida. Sadly my daughter is a mini replica of her mommy when it comes to her health. Pulling sugar, fructose and gluten free grains from a kid is not easy. We do the best we can but she still has a little here and there. We never use any processed sugars. K uses stevia here and there otherwise we use some fruit for her sweetener,but it is rare. She still has a ways to go on controlling her Candida, but I'm hopeful we will get there.

Prior to my illnesses I was a pasta, pizza, burrito, bread and chocolate loving girl. Veggies were not high on my priority list and honestly, I don't think I ate a salad until I was in college. Sad. I had no idea how horribly I was impacting my own health and my future daughters. But as they say, you learn from your mistakes. My health was failing big time shortly after the birth of Kaelyn. I saw many doctors and really nothing was helping, I was only getting worse even after being treated for Graves Disease. So I started researching and going with my gut feelings and decided food might just be my best medicine... and it is. (But I also do really need my thyroid medication since my thyroid was killed.)

So what does a girl do, that had never eaten all that well or spent much time in the kitchen?... you learn to cook and experiment with food. You give up time creating art (or something else you love to do) to make time creating healthy,nourishing, yummy dishes for you and your family to eat. And now I can say, I see what a blessing my health struggles have been. Not only did it make me rely on God to remain hopeful and to keep going, but I was able to find and try so many new foods that are healthy and I now love! I've come to the conclusion if you don't like a veggie, you aren't cooking it right.

If any of you are dealing with health/food issues I hope you will find a little kitchen inspiration...
{making zucchini chips}
My daughter is addicted to these. They take forever to bake but when they are out, I don't think the two pans last more than 5 min before they are gone. These are baked with coconut oil, turmeric, nutritional yeast flakes and Himalayan sea salt.

Zucchini is an amazing veggie in the multiple uses it can have ~ chips, pasta, creamed soup, breads. It just needs a creative hand and it can be a wonderful replacement to otherwise harmful foods.

{allergy free zucchini lasagna ~ one of my favorite dishes!}
{cucumber water ~ adds a fresh punch of flavor}
For the longest time I was missing my pasta. Zucchini to the rescue again... and my mom for giving me her nifty grater to use, we now have wonderful grain free spaghetti noodles!

Kid approved! :)

When a vegetable can serve different purposes, meals can become a lot more interesting. Like zucchini, cauliflower can make a great substitute. I love making cauliflower into an alfredo like sauce or even fake mashed potatoes. My six year old really thought I had given her real mashed potatoes when in fact it was cauliflower. The key is to mix it with some meat broth, a little onion and seasoning and blend it up very smooth. Delicious!

Here is a more complete list of foods that have made me feel so much better and keeps our daughter healthy, if she shys away from this list she usually catches a bug pretty fast:

Chicken, Turkey, Salmon with no added ingredients, organic is preferred, fresh caught fish, wild game (venison, goose, duck...), bison and beef that is 100% grass fed. I would like to try pork but haven't found a clean one. Have to be aware that gluten is put into most "natural flavorings" and spices usually contain nightshades.

Asparagus, Lettuce, Bok Choy, Celery, Cucumber, Radishes, Kale, Avocado, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Collard Greens, Swiss Chard, Garlic, Green Beans, Onion, Spinach, Summer Squash, Turnip Greens, Zucchini, Black Olives, Seaweed (Kaelyn loves Kelp! I may not have told her it was actually seaweed. She also really likes SeaSnax... which are strangely addictive.)

Healthy Fats and Oils:
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Animal Fats, Cod Liver Oil, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Ghee. Ghee is clarified butter and is technically a dairy food but casein and lactose have been removed so most people can tolerate it even if they are dairy intolerant. It has worked wonderfully for us as our butter replacement.

Cilantro, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Oregano, Parsley, Thyme, Turmeric, Himalayan Sea Salt, Celtic Sea Salt and Nutritional Yeast Flakes. Nutritional Yeast must say "Flakes" which is a deactivated yeast so it won't harm a Candida sufferer; it is a great "cheesy" flavoring that is high in nutrients. All the seasonings I use are either fresh from the garden or USDA organic dry seasonings. I only purchase organic seasonings since many commercial spices are irradiated and can change or damage your body's cells, some can even contain other nasty contaminates.

Only a little fresh Lemon Juice for flavoring.

I also use Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar for cleaning veggies and when making bone broth soup.

I think that is everything I have been using in my kitchen. The links go to the actual products I use everyday. I can usually get a better price when ordering from Vitacost. I order quite a bit at once so shipping is always free and it's usually delivered in four days.

I have tried a lot of different healthy diet lists before coming to this one. Nothing else gave me relief. I found I have to have enough meat and healthy fat otherwise I am constantly hungry. I've only used the foods on this list for about six months. For about a year, year and a half, I have used the above list plus tried some gluten free grains and honey here and there but my stomach still wasn't happy and I was not digesting well. The one site that really helped in my progress is Healing Naturally by Bee. Be sure to check it out if you or a loved one are dealing with any serious health issues. It is not just for Candida sufferers! Remember to follow your gut instinct. You will know what works for you and your body... everyone is a little different. I believe everyone would do best from a clean, organic diet. Foods that are as close to nature as possible... the way God intended. These foods are what will help heal you. The more man gets involved with foods the worse they are for you... I have learned this from experience.

A couple weeks ago we brought back Goat kefir and it seems to be going over well. I would love to try raw dairy but it isn't available around us. I've heard a lot of dairy intolerant people can handle dairy in the raw form. Interesting. A couple days ago I also tried making bread again so we will wait and see how my body likes the reintroduction of some gluten free grains. I am praying there won't be anymore setbacks!

If you are dealing with similar health issues and/or have any questions, need support, whatever, please email me or leave a comment! I would be glad to chat with you.


School and a Race

My baby has grown so much from one year ago. She is doing so many things on her own now, which makes this mama's heart happy and a little sad at the same time. August 20th was the day Kaelyn had been excitedly waiting for. She was ready to get back to school.
 I may have tried talking her out of her backpack. Didn't work. :)

Labor day weekend was the last crit race for the year. I think I'm finally doing better photographing the races. (or maybe I was just lucky at this one.) It is a fun challenge to get the racers in focus when they are flying by so quick. Not easy! I think hubby said he got up to 29 miles/hr at this race. (flat course... insane!) K and I enjoy the track layout because we get to see the racers often. Thankfully there weren't any nasty crashes around the curves this time.

{a few of the competitors}

{He won some cash and dinner out! He gave the Red Lobster meal away to another competitor though since K and I have so many food issues. This made a newbie to the race happy. My man is such a sweet guy!}
{Kaelyn is so proud of her daddy!}


House Tour!

It has been awhile since my last home tour. Shortly after taking these photos Miss K had a nasty allergic reaction to a medication that landed us in ER and I forgot about the photos until recently. So before sharing more current family happenings with you here's some home inspiration that I hope you will enjoy...

Usually I'm drawn to the character of older homes, but once in awhile there is a builder that puts some nice details into their designs. I like unique details! :)

All photos except the first 4 show the work of Zome's Construction. (Thanks for letting us tour your gorgeous home Kevin!)