Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Betting on Bento Boxes

Sometimes I spend way too much time thinking about the next best thing. That can be either good or bad. Sometimes it does keep your mind on the lookout for ideas though. And just sometimes, it pays off.

I have been agonizing over ways to make healthy food options just a little bit more appealing to the younger set in the family. Even though I'm down to only just one little person who needs direction in this department, she needs it the most. I stumbled across Primal Kitchen where they do a wonderful job of blogging about the paleo/primal/whole foods approach they take to kids lunches. There are some great ideas there. And the most inspiring I think is the fact that they are using bento boxes to package up the offerings and make them unnumerably more interesting to little diners.

Further research led me to find Laptop Lunch's Bento Buddies which are very cool modular, lidded bento boxes. As well I tracked down Lunch Bots stainless bento lunch containers. Without a budget to stick to, I'd take either one of those for H-Bob in a heart beat. But until I make such a purchase, I decided to do the next best thing and use some silicone cupcake liners that I had which fit perfectly into a lidded container. This doesn't make a very packable option as nothing is lidded, but it did provide a low cost introduction to breakfast and lunch presented in a more fun manner.


Just for fun I decided to see what the library had to offer in this realm and found The Just Bento Cookbook - Everyday Lunches To Go by Makiko Itoh who also blogs at Just Bento which provided a lot of visual inspiration as to what I could adapt to our whole foods/primal food approach. And as usual, another great source for bento lunch ideas I found was on Pinterest. More visuals there to delight the eye and inspire for sure.

Perhaps packing a lunch for a stay-at-home child would become just as bothersome as doing the same for my high schooler who has chosen to take lunches in order to have enough healthy foods to fuel his athletic needs. But on the other hand, I could set aside portions for her just as easily while tackling his lunch demands.

So my final take is that I plan on keeping my eyes open when school lunch boxes start to show up on the retail shelves this summer to look for something that might work, and most importantly, is BPA free. I tend to worry about some of the cheap, imported plastics that find our way into the food supply. Until then, we will experiment with my make-do bento box and see where that takes us. Based on today's enthusiastic response to breakfast that we needed to take on the go, we just might be on the right track.

Do you have healthy, whole food lunch dilemmas for either children at home or on the go? What's your favorite and most successful way to deal with them?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fortunately, It Was Mother's Day. Unfortunately...

Today broke bright and shiny. Unusual for a Northwest spring morning.

But... was Mother's Day. Nothing like some sun to put a spring in your step.

Unfortunately...that meant needing to remember to water my little seedlings in the greenhouse after opening it. A little too toasty for them.

Fortunately...I decided to wear my contacts so that I could bring along my sunglasses for the drive into town. of our daughters decided to ride to church a little later with her older sister, but never managed to pry herself out of bed to let said older sister know, and therefore got left at home.

Fortunately...Big Country's girlfriend brought me lilies for Mother's Day. How sweet is that.

Unfortunately...I still ended up cooking dinner for the family and my mom. But that's okay, because...

Fortunately...there's nothing like having your beef brisket slow-cooked on the Traeger the day before to make dinner a breeze.

Unfortunately...while I was visiting with my mom, H-Bob thought my remaining piece of fabric for Goat Princess' Snow White evil queen costume collar, was a scrap...and turned it into a hand sewing project. 

Fortunately...the fabric store still had the same material on hand to replace it with.

Unfortunately...while attending to all that, the horses stayed out in the very green, lush bottom field for a little longer than they should have. They had some pretty full bellies. was Mother's Day after all, and I garnered a few little gifts from DH...a Teavana mug AND one from Starbucks. I'm set for drinks now.

Unfortunately...we ran out of ice to make a great iced coffee to use one of those new mugs for.

Fortunately....I could enjoy another gift. H-Bob had convinced DH to make her/me a wonderful, rolling chicken coop for a few of her pullets that she wants to keep tame.


It came complete with an ingenious little sign, designed by H-Bob herself.

Unfortunately...those same wonderful hens generate flies which made their way into the house in great numbers while DH was putting some finishing touches on the new door he replaced our broken sliding door with.

Fortunately...the house cools down at night, and those buggers are sitting ducks.

Unfortunately...I didn't remember to open enough windows to really cool it down.

Fortunately...Big Country gave me the most heart-felt card ever. He rather poured his heart out in this one. A real keeper.

Unfortunately...we had such a full day that the planned early bedtime for everyone really did not happen. was a great day to spend with family and friends. And it's those moments that make everything worth it!

Hoping you all had a blessed time with your friends or family this Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

J - O - Y Prayer Journal

Several months back I was thoroughly inspired by a link I discovered that featured a tutorial on how to put together a personal prayer journal. It spoke to my heart as this is something that I had wanted to put together for myself. So I bookmarked it.

But unfortunately there it sat. Enter a book I picked up at the library recently entitled Eat That Frog! which I had originally reserved for some ideas on dealing with procrastination in my children. But at this point the most value came for myself. Did I have any goals set? Were those goals able to direct my day-to-day activities and priorities? Well, no, to be honest. So there I came full circle again to my desire to have a more structured prayer life.

So back I went to my bookmark and some searching through Pinterest. And yes, I came up with something even more inspiring for me. A simple composition notebook, decked out in scrapbooking papers and personalized tabs. So off I went to pick up these simple supplies. I decided that this would also be a great opportunity to introduce this concept to my ten-year-old, so she selected her themed papers as well. The original post does a fantastic job of outlining the steps to put together this personalized journal...hers was a Christmas planner...but here are the basic steps that I followed:

basic supplies...composition notebook, scrapbook paper, ribbon to tie journal with, glue, and scissors


although hard to see here, ribbon is glued to outside of book so that it will wrap around it and be able to tie. front and backs are covered with a piece of patterned paper cut to fit.


more embellishments are added to the front and back covers to conceal the remaining surfaces. 

The journal was finished up by glueing another sheet to the inside and back covers to conceal the printed information. And lastly, I doubled over small scraps of patterned paper and glued them to the outside edge of individual sheets to divide the book into roughly thirds in order to have some tabbed dividers. I know, hard to visualize but the link to the original post is very clear if you check it out.

So the big to use this beautiful little journal? And then it came to me. The Sunday School song "J - O - Y" whose chorus lyrics are:

Jesus first,
Yourself last,
And Others in between.

How perfect.

The tabs would be labeled J - Jesus...a place for praise and thankfulness for what Jesus has done.

The second tab would be O - Others...listing of ongoing prayer requests.

And the last tab would be Y - would you like Jesus to work in your own personal life.

So simple that even a child could understand which is exactly what I wanted for H-Bob. We decided to start a new page for each time the month changed and then review her entries weekly and add happy faces or hearts to those items that were answered prayers. Best idea in a long time.

If you've wanted something structured for yourself that you can use to track answered prayers and to keep others' requests in the forefront of your thoughts, this just might work for you. Plus it's a chance to be just a tiny bit crafty and creative even if you think you aren't. Have you put together anything similar? Has it helped? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Of Diet and Dyslexia - Part Six

So where have we come since October of 2011 in our diet and dyslexia adventure? An extremely long way since January of that same year upon diagnosing her vision difficulties, and an amazing journey since going gluten-free in August and finding the key to her joint pains, attention issues, processing skills, and reading ability. H-Bob will be coming up on almost nine months of eating gluten-free here soon. So here's where we are...

May 2012

H-Bob has completed all necessary vision therapy. Her therapist has helped her complete all physical changes that were needed as well as activate those vision processing areas that had been on vacation for so long. This is in itself is remarkable in taking her reading level from a kindergarten level to reading books in the 850 Lexile range which is almost on track for grade level for her within that one year period. Although her therapist did not official endorse dietary changes as part of her protocol, she could only acknowledge that massive gains were made once H-Bob dropped the gluten and sugar. By the end of her sessions, she noticed things that I had not specifically picked up on as much...much more eye contact, confidence, the willingness to stick to a task, ambition, and general happiness. I couldn't agree more.

As far as her charter school studies are concerned, she was required to take our state reading and math testing this past spring as usual. The previous year she was quite a ways off from meeting state standards in third grade and had to complete her reading assessment in four or five sessions. This year she came closer to meeting those standards but had closed the gap considerably. I fully expect that by her fifth grade testing, she will be able to meet those standards. The fact that she did her testing in those subject areas in one or two sessions was a major accomplishment from last year. Again, diet definitely played a part in allowing her attention and determination to see her through those tests in larger chunks of concentrated time.

At home she is still the ever creative right-brained child excelling at sculpture and creative pursuits. She's so amazing at having a vision of something she would like to produce but is sometimes stymied by her abilities and supplies. However, we're excited to see that her frustration levels have evened out. It's hard to be a little person trying to accomplish great things. We're still working on getting her reading level up a little. She's got great comprehension for things heard orally but are working on this skill for that which she reads silently. She seems to have a flair for writing cursive...probably the artistic value of it...and her printed writing is so much more legible than it was. She is definitely more able to produce a written paragraph compared to the agony of her previously eking out a sentence or two. Her mathematical abilities took a great jump with her diet change, but anticipating struggles with Saxon when long division was introduced, we opted for Math-U-See for this year. But we still found out that this still became a stumbling block. It wasn't until discovering double division that we jumped this hurdle. I have a feeling that spelling will always be a bugger for her, but we are making progress there as well.

Overall, there is no doubt that our diet change and supplements for H-Bob are here to stay. Especially, as there have been secondary results there too.  About three months after eating gluten-free with H-Bob, I noticed that I was feeling more and more light headed. Just before Thanksgiving it became particularly bad, and I decided to check my blood pressure as I had been on two medications for the past year after a dentist discovered that my pressure was through the roof. Low and behold, my blood pressure was in the 115/60 range...way too low...apparently due to the fact that dietary changes I had embraced along with H-Bob combined with my medication were keeping the levels too low. My doctor told me to drop my dose to half, and then finally had to admit that it needed to be completely taken away. He had to eat his previous words that blood pressure never comes down in an older person. Surprise...surprise...I say. 

Realizing that H-Bob cannot go back to her old ways of eating for the remainder of her life and that it was currently my job to figure out how she was to accomplish that, I begin to investigate more thoroughly the gluten-free diet.  I didn't like the idea of pumping sugar-laden, processed, refined-flour products, although gluten-free, into our diets on a long-term basis. Leads here and there took me to recommendations to go vegan, vegetarian, raw, or paleo/primal. I dabbled in the raw food diet for about thirty days but saw that H-Bob lost too much weight. I had more energy and woke up feeling incredible every morning but developed insomnia...later learning that I was probably became deficient in the amino acids from animal protein that promote sleep. Since that eliminated vegan, vegetarian and raw, I decided to see what paleo/primal was all about. 

So since that time, we as a family began a 30-day paleo/primal food challenge in which our food choices included animal protein, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats which included olive oil and coconut oil and other coconut products, along with avocados and some nuts. Sounds pretty good, right? Oh and did I mention what wasn't on the menu? All dairy, gluten, grains, legumes, seed oils and not a drop of sugar or artifical sweeteners. That was a pretty tough sale to the entire family I admit. But you know what? By the end of those 30 days, all of us realized that our abdominal fat just melted away...literally. DH lost 15 pounds or so without even batting an eye. No one ever went hungry. We embraced the idea that healthy fat is not bad nor is plenty of animal products. We filled up to the brim on veggies and fruit smoothies and ate enough protein and fat to feel satiated at every meal and just watched our health change before our eyes. Co-workers mentioned how great DH looked and noticed how much more energy he had. Our teen son's acne cleared. I could wake in the morning without feeling as if I'd run a marathon during the night. And H-Bob began to put some meat on her bones. I begin to notice that Goat Princess no longer had trouble falling asleep at night and did not drop off to sleep randomly during the day. Once everyone was over their carb-cravings, constant need to feel the need to eat every few hours, and sugar addiction so-to-speak, eating in a paleo manner was definitely a win-win situation.

Today Goat Princess still eats a pretty strict primal diet although she's beginning to allow herself a couple of cheat meals a week. She'll notice right away the carb crash that happens following those meals.  I too follow a primal diet, allowing myself some dairy products such as butter and buttermilk and the occasional cheese garnish. But milk in the latte is a thing so the past...welcome my new friend, coconut milk.  H-Bob still struggles with sugar and wanting the occasional gluten item. She'll have her treat but always pays the price of mood, attention, and leg pains. She's gradually learning that it isn't always worth it. DH eats out so much at work that he really tries to stay primal, but once going back to way too many cheat meals, he finds he doesn't have the resolve to stick with it. Looks like he needs another thirty-day challenge to clear him out again. Our teen athlete eats a pretty primal diet although he has no trouble dining out with friends on the weekend. You can tell when he's really overdone it as his acne will flare up and gets that total way-too-tired couch-potato syndrome again. But overall, it is a pretty win-win situation.

You know the silver lining they talk about? Well H-Bob's dyslexia has been that for us. Not only have we learned how to support her needs, but as a family our health and well-being have been affected in such positive ways that we can only be truly grateful.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Of Diet and Dyslexia - Part Five

Cliche as it is, it's hard to believe that this is the fifth post in this series. But bear with me as I try to lay out the results of our diet change with H-Bob in our attempt to clean up her diet and experience positive changes in her learning abilities. You can catch up by reading parts onetwothree, and four.

September 2011 

By the time school rolled around, H-Bob was eating a gluten-free diet with very little amounts of sugar and dairy. Interestingly enough, once she lost her carb-craving associated with the gluten, she no longer felt the need to guzzle glass after glass of milk, and that empty space in her stomach could be filled with the fresh vegetables and fruit that had been missing from her diet. She was talking a multi-vitamin, an omega 3 supplement with DHA and EPA along with a probiotic. The last piece of the puzzle that I threw in was a supplement provided by Jarrow called Neuro Optimizer. This provided extra amino acids to support healthy brain function in an attempt to help her fill up any void that might exist nutritionally. But poor H-Bob. She had a cupful of pills every morning to deal with. We had our share of struggles over this, but when you can see such improvement, it sure helps to keep up your resolve.

During August when we saw that her ability to ‘see’ correctly had drastically improved, we started to think about finding a intervention reading program to help her get from her kindergarten reading level to something closer to her grade level which would be fourth grade this school year. We settled on Saxon Phonics Intervention Program as it skipped a lot of the fluff that you would expose a younger beginning reader to. It just hammered in the basics with lots of repetition and practice across all the different learning styles in a manner that would not be demeaning to an older student. Wanting to achieve success, I followed it to the last letter not skimming or skipping anything. Information I had read indicated that dyslexics benefit from intense phonics instruction to completely reinforce the application of phonics. It was amazing to see that by the end of September, H-Bob’s reading was phenomenally better. You have no idea how encouraging this was. H-Bob’s charter school classes were beginning the end of September, and I was a bit nervous about her entering Orchestra I with her violin as she had the ability to play well but could not for the life of anything read music. Her great musical ear had bolstered her along all through last year. But to my surprise, there was vast improvement over last year. All of this was definitely paying off.

October 2011

By this time, H-Bob had settled into a pretty predictable routine of eating clean, whole foods without gluten. But if she were exposed to gluten accidentally, it was so obvious She would experience her leg pains again, but even more intense as it took only a little exposure now to affect her. Her attitude would flip a switch and she would become very emotional...whether angry or sad..and it would be intense. Her attention would wander and there would be zero focus. There's nothing like a glimpse back into the past to remind you that whole-food nutrition without gluten will be paramount to her life...and permanent.

I’ll never forget the morning H-Bob yelled from her bed upon waking that morning. “Mom, mom! You’ll never believe it! I actually had a dream last night! And there was this music. I could hear all of it. All of the parts. And there was color everywhere!” I suppose that shouldn't sound like too unusual of a dream, but for her it was.  Due to her monotone diet and resulting lack of nutrition, it had appeared that there were neural connections that weren't being made just simply because she did not have the raw materials to support her neurological system. This tended to be expressed as her inability to envision things on an internal blackboard so to speak, difficulty recalling things, plus her various learning disabilities...all things that were frustrating for her. She was ecstatic over what her mind was now able to do. It’s hard to explain how significant this felt. All of those nagging questions whether things were not quite right with her processing skills were now ironing themselves out. It was all becoming too clear that the typical SAD diet we had been eating, although healthy by many means, still did not provide her picky palate with what she needed. That combined with her supplements to support catching up her deficiencies seemed to help complete the whole pictures. The saying, you are what you eat, was really hitting home.

Her vision therapist had explained that now she had the physical ability to take in printed material, she needed to achieve proficiency in the seven visual processing skills needed to process information. Because she had lacked those many, many years of taking in and processing information, she was simply behind in those skills. The physical ability formed the base of a pyramid and the various skills would build upon the top of them. She was so great at coming up with exercises that kept H-Bob's motivation up when they could have been very repetitious. She built activities around her interest in art and animals, and it seemed that once those activities were introduced, she flew through the exercises and made huge leaps and bounds of progress.  These activities helped all across the board with her reading that was progressing nicely as well as her handwriting skills, her focus, her mathematical abilities, and  her reasoning. Pretty much everything in her life was positively affected. Here, finally, was the positive and ambitious girl that we knew existed.

I think I will be able to wrap things up with my final post as we move into where we are today. Stay tuned!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Of Diet and Dyslexia - Part Four

Thanks for joining me on my series of posts about our daughter, H-Bob, and our discovery of her dyslexia and the effects of her diet. If you'd like, here are links to parts one, two, and three. Read along and find out how we took the first steps to evaluate and tackle major changes to our diet.

August 2011

Well...we bit the bullet. H-Bob and I were going to attempt to eliminate gluten, dairy and sugar from our diets. Just to see what might happen. Although most professionals...and remember, I'm not one--just a investigative type of mom...recommend at least a six week period of avoiding these foods, I was just hopeful to pull it off for two weeks. How could one exist without these food? What would you eat?  The whole concept was very intimidating and daunting to me. That shows you just how entrenched we were in our standard American diet (SAD). The clincher that gave me the determination to see this through was that as I flipped back through her food journal, I could see the relationship of what she was eating to her outward actions.

Nevertheless, just the thought of eliminating these foods from our diet made ME panic. Why was I so worried? I could go back to eating the same old way anytime, right? The next week was the WORST of our lives. I can truthfully say that the two of us went through withdrawals that must be equal to anyone dealing with an addiction. I did not go through the cupboards and throw out the offending foods as there were four other family members who absolutely did not want to be involved in this experiment. But, oh, I wish I could have. To walk by the bread and butter. To not have milk in my coffee. No pasta. Not even any steel cut oats. Processed foods were out of the question as they usually had sugar. I thought I was going to die. And H-Bob basically did. There were tears and crying and yelling and screaming. But by the end of the week, something remarkable happened.

Our intense obsession over these foods was over. The storm of sorts was gone. And we did survive. Not only survived, but H-Bob was feeling good. Those unpredictable, daily multiple meltdowns were oh-so drastically reduced. I will admit though, it did not have a perfect ending. I couldn’t keep H-Bob on that strict diet any longer than about ten days. I caved. Perhaps if I wasn’t trying to support her and eliminate the same foods from my diet at the same time, I could have kept up my resolve. But it didn’t happen. So I allowed her to choose…gluten or dairy to add back in. She chose dairy, thankfully, and we marched on for a second week without gluten.

Then I began to start noticing other things. H-Bob’s several times a week ankle joint pains were a thing of the past. Her tic was gone. She smiled a lot more...was more aware of things around her...and seemed to have a veil or fog lifted from her being.  She flew through her vision exercises. The roller-coaster emotions disappeared. All those things that made her life stressful were falling away. Maybe all those glowing reports by other parents whose children were on a gluten-free diet were accurate after all. Now let me say here again before I forget...I am not a doctor or a researcher or a professional of any kind. I’m not making a suggestion that you or anyone else you know can follow in our footsteps and experience the same results. But just the same, I want to


It really did work for H-Bob. Now after that required announcement, back to the diet thing. I was becoming a believer in gluten intolerance. Dairy did not seem to produce any undesirable effects. Sugar, on the other hand, seemed to exacerbate things but not on the level it was.

Another aspect that I was delving in to was that of fatty acid supplementation. Although limited, there is research to support that many kids on the spectrum scale are found to be deficient in omega 3 EPA/DHA. Effects from this supplementation do not appear as quickly as a diet change and sometimes take up to a month before any positive results are seen. But I was still looking for a missing component and this could be it. H-Bob’s GF diet had eliminated many of the mood and attention issues but there were still the issues of the way her brain seemed to have difficulties in processing information. We noticed that short term memory was pretty non-existant. ADHD anyone? She seemed completely inable to visualize anything internally. Part of these issues her vision therapist commented would be addressed after her vision abilities stabilized to where they should be. So we added an omega 3 supplement that had roughly equal parts EPA and DHA in it.

We were seeing such great improvement in other areas that I became a firm believer in everything else that naturopaths and other doctors of functional medicine had been using to help autistic, ADHD, and dyslexic children. So there were a couple of other things we did during this time. I began H-Bob on a probiotic as I became aware of the leaky gut syndrome that can cause autoimmune reactions to gluten in the form of her leg pains. We also added in a complete children’s vitamin. I have never felt totally secure in the fact that those gummy-type children’s vitamins actually are very potent, and due to her nutritional deficiencies (caused by her limited diet and malabsorption by her leaky gut) I tracked down a powdered vitamin recommended by Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The UltraMind Solution, whose nutritional advice was invaluable in helping to understand the dietary changes we needed to make.

We were probably four to five weeks into these supplements and noticing that none of the other negative symptoms were returning. Besides that, there started to appear additional unexpected benefits. One day while working on her eye therapy practice work, H-Bob startled me by exclaiming that something ‘switched on’. She was so excited she could hardly explain it to me, but while working on her divergence and convergence exercise she said that her ability to cross and uncross suddenly ‘turned on’. Something she had struggled to overcome since the beginning of her eye therapy. From that point on, she was 100% able to complete those exercises. Her therapist could hardly believe the improvement she made that week. We noticed that she could grasp the meaning of numbers while working on math. Her thinking skills were improving as well. Everything was moving along on an inclining scale upwards.

But then, life took over. DH had a fishing trip scheduled with a buddy and his kids. They were to spend an extended weekend camping. Cooking their guy food. Buying treats. All the bad stuff. I tried my best to convince DH that gluten was out of the question but knew that he didn’t really see the day-to-day effects that her new food choices were having on her. The day they came home, H-Bob bounded into the house with a red licorice rope in one hand and a soda in the other. Oh my. It wasn't long until it was all too clear that there was a diet connection here. After a miserable couple of days getting her back onto track, we were once again back to gluten free.

This was definitely a turning point in H-Bob's life. From here on we experienced positive gains. But our journey was far from over. School was about to start. Would any of these changes be evident once structured learning took over again? That will be the topic of Part Five.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Of Diet and Dyslexia - Part Three

Thanks for joining me on my series of posts about our daughter, H-Bob, and our discovery of her dyslexia and the effects of her diet. If you'd like, here are links to parts one and two. Today we delve into the issue of diet which kept surfacing everywhere I turned while researching learning disabilities and attention issues.

July 2011 

Since the concept of diet being more than just what one puts..or doesn't put...into their mouth kept haunting me, I started to maintain a food journal, just for kicks, recording what H-Bob ate and what moods, attention span, cognitive abilities she expressed. Simultaneously I began to read everything I could about diet and ADHD. At this point I had already come to terms that all of our children had exhibited ADHD symptoms and had different learning patterns that enabled them to learn better in a homeschooling situation. But H-Bob combined all of the other three children’s most difficult traits into one bundled-up child. Not only did she maintain a short attention span when it came to reading-type work (even though we had a partial explanation for that with her vision difficulties), she also had intense phobias that would change from time to time along with other conditions that would fall under the label of compulsive disorders. At time she would have tics involving various parts of her body (the current one was blinking her eyes which was getting quite intense). There were violent mood swings with extreme bouts of crying over melancholy music or recalling sad memories. She really was the poster-child of a difficult child to raise.

So as I began to actually record these items, we began to realize how intensely they controlled her life. There were many many books and on-line sites that I gleaned information from. The evidence was overwhelming. Children experiencing these conditions seemed to be directly affected by their diet. These issues would drastically improve once they eliminated foods that they could not tolerate, cleaned up their systems of toxins, and began supplementation with DHA and EPA Omega 3 fatty acids. But how could this be true and not once have had it cross my information path? I’m a pretty well-read person and this had been completely under the radar to me. Even the fact that her pediatrition never threw out this information floors me.

Here is a list of some of the most compelling books I read through that summer while standing in the gardening watering and simultaneously trying to read a book in the other hand.

The Kid-Friendly ADHD and Autism Cookbook - best concise explanation of how dairy, gluten, and sugar can affect your child. 

Digestive Wellness - a more in-depth read detailing how digestive issues can have a far-reaching affect on all body systems.

Healing the New Childhood Epidemics - very detailed information on special diets, intolerances, nutritional deficiencies, and toxicity and the role they play in ADHD, autism, Aspergers, and dyslexia.

The Ultra Mind Solution - another very detailed book on nutrition that applies mainly to adults and the concept that diet is a contributing factor to any and all conditions detrimental to one's health and overall well-being. 

The LCP Solution - this provided more support for the role of Omega 3 in the diet and the effects of its deficiency. 

Brain Allergies - an older book that first opened my eyes as to how food sensitiveness can provoke psychological responses. 

Changing the Course of Autism - this book is specifically targeted at those on the autistic spectrum, but the diet, nutritional deficiencies, and toxicity issues are still applicable to dyslexics. 

So much information crammed into so many different books all to be inhaled and interpreted into what I began to feel was a very short window in order to begin to consider drastic changes in our diet. I must say that various encounters with friends whom I learned were making dietary changes for various reasons gave me the hope to travel down this path and that just perhaps we weren't alone.

Next up...the results of our food journaling...and what we discovered.


Links to and part four.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Of Diet and Dyslexia - Part Two

Thanks for joining me on my series of posts about our daughter, H-Bob, and our discovery of her dyslexia and the effects of her diet. You can catch part one here.

 June 2011 

It all started with a Tweet. Someone who mentioned that she had just purchased a copy of How to Raise Your Strong Willed Child. It sounded like a good title to investigate. We used to tweet back and forth how H-Bob and some of her children exhibited over-the-top, strong-willed-child attributes. I tracked down a copy at our local library and started reading. It confirmed that I indeed have a strong-willed child. As an infant she cried continually...was sensitive to light, touch, all sounds, and motion. As a toddler, she was still whiny, a picky eater, always in motion. These all fell under the different personality traits outlined by the book. Fascinating and affirming that H-Bob was not the only such child on the planet.

Not so much a personality trait, but we noticed as a preschooler she had no interest in the printed letter although she loved to be read to and became skilled at drawing. Beginning reading lessons were met with resistance. Being able to distinguish sounds seemed difficult. It seemed as if she could not understand the concept of rhyming words. What we learned one day was forgotten the next. And forget anything that had to do with math. But back to the book. Sprinkled through the book were those disclaimer comments…if your child exhibits this or that, you might want to consider the possibility of a learning disability. Those little things that pricked at my insides and said, “What are you going to do with that information, now?”

There were references to several different other titles and online information to consider as follow-up materials to the book. I promptly checked out stacks of titles from our local library (just check my Shelfari shelf on the left-hand side of the blog) and entered the world of dyslexia. It didn’t take much more than that to clinch the fact that this was what we were dealing with. School was out for the summer, so we proceeded with what we had on our own. I brought it up with her wonderful vision therapist who told me her son was dyslexic and had eye abnormalities similar to H-Bob when he was young. She had already suspected that H-Bob was dyslexic but didn’t mention anything. H-Bob’s eyes needed to ‘see’ effectively before anything else remedial could be introduced. Interesting that she did not consider dyslexia a liability at this point. I would learn in time that dyslexia is a gift and not something to be feared.

As I mentioned in my much briefer posts here and here at the time, I’m not one to take things lying down. There simply had to be a reason for her dyslexia. Current information seems to point towards a hereditary link. To my knowledge that did not exist in our family. What else could there be? Here began my search. I first scoured the web to find more information that I knew where to start with. Luck had it that the first book I picked up at the library was Disconnected Kids. If I thought that Raising Your Strong Willed Child was an eye opener. This was a life-changer. Dr. Melilo outlines his take that dyslexia and anyone on the austism/Asperberger spectrum are dealing with conditions on just one front, with individuals with dyslexia being extreme right-brained and autism/Asperbergers on the left-brain scale. Due to various conditions, the two halves of the brain can become disconnected and either of those conditions can occur. One section of his book outlines how to test at home for those conditions, and the dyslexia became very clear. These situations can be reversed according to his protocol with retraining the brain to communicate to the other side through occupational therapy activities and by a diet change. We promptly started with activities that started communication between right and left brain and could see that anything left-brained oriented was so difficult for her. She lined up true to the symptoms of someone who has limited use of the left hemisphere...not too coincidentally, the language processing side of the brain concerned with reading.

There is way too much information to condense here…I’m already feeling like I’m rambling even there is so much to say…but getting to the diet part. That seemed like a bunch of crock. How could eliminating gluten, dairy, and sugar change the way one felt or thought? That’s all H-Bob lived on as she was such a picky eater.


That was the key, although we didn’t yet realize to what extent it would change her life.

Next journaling and a new side to nutrition that we had never been exposed to.

Links to part three and part four.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Of Diet and Dyslexia - Part One

As I sat with my mother at her optometrist appointment a few weeks ago, we started talking about an article on gluten sensitivity that was published in our local newspaper, The Oregonian, that I had brought along to read...a full-page spread in their Living Section on gluten sensitivity issues. My mother has always been interested in nutrition and has tried to follow my train of thought on our discovery of gluten intolerance with H-Bob after her dyslexia diagnosis. It seems so foreign to her that wheat…the substance of America’s breadbasket…could be so offending. It was then that I realized that was my exact sentiment nearly a year ago, and it would seem that I should share our story. I wouldn’t have believed where we are today from the viewpoint of a year ago. Not one tiny shred...even to the point I would have bet my bottom dollar on it.

 As I previously blogged in Overcoming Dyslexia and It's Dyslexia...So Now What?, H-Bob’s learning difficulties seemed to stem from a dyslexic situation that I finally allowed myself to follow down that particular rabbit hole. After all, who wants to admit their child has a learning disability. But the evidence was there, and I had been choosing to ignore it.

She’ll grow out of it.
Just a delayed learner.
She’ll catch up next year.
But it never happened. So hang on. Here’s our wild ride.

January 2011 

I had scheduled a vision screening at H-Bob’s charter school for her realizing that part of her reading difficulties could be based on her visual tracking. We had a similar experience with Camo Queen back when she was in sixth grade that was easily resolved with vision therapy. At the end of the screening, it was apparent that we were on to something. H-Bob’s tracking was off as was her ability to cross and uncross her eyes. And quite a bit at that. Her initial appointment with the optometrist revealed that her visual processing speed was at that of a kindergartener. He was amazed that she was reading at all. In her world, the words would be overlapping, dancing on the page, and coming in and out of focus. No wonder our attempts at reading were stuck at the beginning Bob Book levels. At this time H-Bob was nearing the end of third the age where the effectiveness of reading intervention hangs in the balance scales. After several months of therapy, H-Bob had been working hard at the different exercises that were prescribed. They were hard, strained her eyes, forcing them to behave in the way they needed to. But there was progress. Things were going to work out.

Well, things have a way of working out, but perhaps just not the way you envision.

Next forward to June 2011 and an encounter with another life-changing book.

Links to part twopart three, and part four.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Things to do at Abernathy Creek Farm

Busy, busy, busy with our outdoor chores. Hop over to our Abernathy Creek Farm blog to get a peek at what needed to be done, Spring Chores on the Farm.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Waiting for Spring

I'm dusting off the farm blog again. Here's the link to today's post...Waiting for Spring. Enjoy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Razor clamming on the Washington coast

Five layers. Hood up. Rubber boots on. Outside in the wind. Sloshing through surf. Whatever would voluntarily drive someone to those extremes? In our family, it was the call of trying out something new…razor clam digging on the Washington coast during the last day of its season at the advice of a friend. Notice I didn’t mention anything about rain. And it’s a good thing it held off because eventually I was soaked from the knee down and dragging around forty-degree sea water in my boots, all because I got a little preoccupied watching my nine-year old harvest her very first razor clam by herself. That surf has a way of sneaking up on you and catching you off guard. Never turn your back on the ocean or look down for an extended period of time, I tell you.

Anyway, we had a blast. Between the five family members and two friends that we took along we had purchased only four tags but had a haul of over fifty clams...fifteen-clam limit per tag holder. And these guys are big…about six inches long and several inches wide. Not bad for only having two clamming guns. Hopefully the photos will give you a little better idea what’s involved...scanning the wet, receding surf for signs of a clam digging in deep, popping the clamming gun over the top, getting it wiggled down through the sand, and then sealing the air hole while pulling it up with the clam hopefully trapped inside.

Cleaning them was an adventure for my husband about midnight last night, but I left him with the suggestion of checking YouTube for a tutorial while I took home a friend. Good thing, since the video’s advice was a little more specific than that he had been casually told. A pile of shells and innards later, there was a nice bag of clams waiting for the refrigerator.

Now I’m anxiously waiting returning from the girls charter school to start a fire and sit in front of it for an extended period of time to get warm down to my bones. And tackle the sandy, wet laundry and the dishes heaving out of the kitchen sink...but that's beside the point. I haven’t been able to really get warm since yesterday. Then it will be off to try my hand at throwing together some sort of gluten-free breaded and fried razor clams for dinner. Here’s hoping those guys will be delicious!

For those of you who might have noticed, this blog posting might be considered a bit of a celebration at least on my part. I have truly missed the chronicling of our hectic life. I just can’t seem to fit it in. Partly because my perfectionistic procrastination takes over…WANTING perfect photos...WANTING witty renditions of our family’s adventures…when all I really NEED is the recording of little fleeting memories to hold on to in some tangible form other than in photos and our aging memories. Our little day-trip has only been one of a million activities that has kept me away from my blog. It and a radical diet change for the entire family…supporting our catch-up learning of our little right-brained, creative learner who had been struggling with dyslexia…getting our senior son on track for deciding a college and applying for athletic and academic scholarships…being an active member with my husband in our fifteen-year-old’s musical theater program involving building sets and sewing costumes…keeping our livestock happy through the winter…all while trying to keep our focus real and on those matters that really count.

So…look for a blog post…once a week…once a month…whenever I can steal a few moments. I certainly will be relishing the opportunity.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

3-column blogger templates(available in 4 different styles)