WIP Wednesday – Hexes, Socks & Lima Beans

I’ve been busy with crafting over the last couple weeks.  I’ve been plugging away at the twin size Spring Flowers hexagon blanket.  I realized that my original calculation were slightly off.  The blanket is now the proper width (12 rows), but I’m going to need many more hexes than I figured to bring it to the proper length.  I’m currently at 130 hexes completed and crocheted together.  I figure that I need a total of 205 hexes to bring it to bedspread length.  I finished 15 hexes in the past couple days and have completed through the 2nd round on 10 more.  I haven’t been given a deadline to finish by, but I’m hoping to get it done before the end of the month.  I’ve only been working on it for 2 months now, which isn’t too bad considering the size of the project.

Here is an updated picture of it.  I’ve also been granted permission from the pattern creator to make blankets and sell them in my Etsy shop.  So, a big shout out and thank you to Jessie from Jessie at Home for creating a beautiful pattern!

Spring Flowers Hexagon Blanket

Since I finished 3 bibs for Sarandipity Handmade and I like to have a little traveling project with me, especially when I am sitting down at the school waiting for Bug to be released, (those bibs were great for that) I started on another pair of socks for myself for Mother’s Day.  I’m following the same vanilla pattern that I used for the other 2 pairs I made, but I’m doing my heel and toe a bit differently, following a pattern in a book I borrowed from the library.

And, I’ve realized that my diet is still a work in progress, too.  I’ve been doing so well, nearly another month soy free without an issue until Monday night when I ate lima beans with dinner.  According to some research  lima beans (as well as other legumes) can trigger the same effect if you have an issue with soy.  So, until then I’m avoiding lima beans.  I’m thankful I don’t have issue with green beans, kidney beans or peas, cause we eat those all the time.

I’ve got so many ideas floating around in my head, but I’m hoping to finish one of the 2 projects I’ve got going before starting more…though I’m sure I’ll probably pick up another small project before all is said and done…that’s just how I am!  lol

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Soy Free Update

So I’m still sticking with the soy free diet and things are going swimmingly.  I’ve had a few run-ins with some natural flavoring and some issues with butter, but aside from that, I’ve been feeling great!  My moods are still better, I’m clearer headed, and my heart palpitations have declined greatly…My weight has stabilized at around 135lbs (I’m only about 15lbs heavier than I was at my high school graduation).  I’ve also found a few friends who are possibly in the same boat with soy who are joining me on the soy free experiment bandwagon.  Not that I want someone to have a food allergy, but it feels good to not be alone and it feels good to be able to help someone else out.

I’ve also had some run-ins with some well meaning friends who, in a push to be helpful, practically cornered me (or so it felt) on my facebook page and were cramming the whole “gloom and doom, get to a doctor NOW!” stuff down my throat.  I did take a stand and asked them nicely to back off as I was feeling pretty bullied and yelled at and they turned around, kicked it up a notch and pretty much lambasted me for posting about my “ailments” and told me that I shouldn’t post if I didn’t want the comments.   Basically a blame the victim kinda thing.   “Well, she asked for it!”  I wonder if I should start commenting on my friends statuses who always talk about drinking/partying/getting wasted and ask if they need to go to an AA meeting.  Apparently, I post about my health too much and that warrants an inquisition about why I won’t see a doctor.  Maybe those drinking statuses are a cry for an alcoholic intervention…It’s the pot calling the kettle black, really.  In hindsight, I made the mistake of posting about my health on my wall and I’m not going to do that anymore.  Lesson learned.  Oh, and I’m sure I just pissed someone off… 🙂

I’m one of those stereotypical facebookers who post about exactly what they are doing/feeling, etc.  I don’t do it to get comments or pity.  I’m not a troll.  I just put stuff out there.  Most of the time my posts revolve around my knitting or housework and what I’ve accomplished or plan to accomplish for the day.  Same for this blog.  I just write and if my day to day stuff and experiences help others, great, if someone comes here and can offer help to me, even better.  I’m not just posting to get people to visit my blog.  Do I like to see my blog stats go up, yes, because I can only hope that my blog has been, in some way, helpful to those visitors.  I just feel like I’ve lost an outlet for my thoughts.

Anyway, I’ve learned a few more things though trial and error. Most of the teas in my cupboard contain soy lecithin or natural flavors.  I’m down to 2-3 boxes out of the like 8 that are in there.  I’m bummed because I can no longer have the buffalo wing sauce that’s in my fridge.  I love buffalo wings and spicy stuff…Also, antacids contain natural flavors and have a tendency to make my stomach hurt and my heart pound on top of the indigestion….yeah, won’t make that mistake again.  lol  I’ve learned that benedryl helps if I have accidentally eaten something with soy or butter.  Good to know!  I’ve also learned that the hand lotion I’ve been using contains soybean oil.  Nice.  At least I know that it’s not a contact allergy/sensitivity.  I’ve been using the lotion every day since I’ve cut out eating soy and I haven’t noticed any ill feelings or rashes.  I am going to find a soy free lotion as I have terribly dry hands in the winter and I have to put lotion on regularly or my hands will crack and bleed.  I’m slightly germophobic, so I’m always washing my hands and that doesn’t help the dryness.

At some point I have to post about my knitting and Bug’s birthday and birthday party from this past weekend.  I also plan to post about the soy free strawberry cake from scratch that I made…though this cake ended up bothering me…probably from the butter – it used 2 sticks!   I know it wasn’t the homemade meringue frosting as the night before the party I was eating it while decorating the cake and I was fine.  Either way, the cake was delicious, despite it’s density (it was more fudge brownie like than cake like) and the fact that it made my stomach hurt.

So, that’s the update for this week.  I’m continuing to improve and I’m happy about that.  Yay for good things!

Vast Improvement

Since cutting out the soy in my diet I’ve had a vast improvement in both my stomach pain as well as my foggy feeling head and my attitude/mood.   My stomach no longer rebels and hurts me after eating.  I’m in a happier mood most of the time, which is great for Darling Hubby and the boys.  I smile and laugh more than I did mere days ago.  I just feel better all around!

I’m still planning to get a doctor for a physical and get a good once over, but I think I really know what was wrong.  I had a doctor in mind after a recommendation from a friend, but after calling the office I discovered he no longer works there and that none of the other doctors are accepting new patients (figures, since it sounded like a great office – weekend clinic with no appts and it’s right around the corner)…so the search goes on…I just have to wait for the insurance company website to stop having technical difficulties so I can look.

I’ve been thinking about everything anyway and I’ve come to the conclusion that doctors would end up putting me through some nasty tests to rule out allergy, as most likely the blood/scratch tests would give negative results.  I rather not put myself through all that, especially since in the long run the real test is to avoid the offending allergen and then add it back to see how my body reacts after a few weeks.  I’m just skipping all the pokes and prods.  But, don’t worry, for all of you who are pushing for me to see a doctor, I will.

So, until then I’m going to continue with the soy omission and hopefully I’ll keep feeling great.  Some people say it could be a placebo effect, but I’ll take it for now.  I haven’t felt this good in years (nor have I weighed this little…lol)  A friend of mine (Barbara) who also has food allergies and is currently going through a cleanse to see what new food allergy she has, told me that by cutting out the offending allergy, my body is letting go of inflammatory responses  (excess water and toxins) and because of that there is a weight loss.  And it’s not because I’m not eating or because I’ve cut my calories…To be honest, I would go weeks skipping breakfast and eating junk food for lunch and then snacking all night and my weight was pretty much plateaued out at 142lbs.  I’ve actually started eating more daily than I ever was (making sure I eat something for breakfast, even if it’s just a banana) and it’s all healthier stuff (fruits, veggies, et.  I’ve started eating fruit daily and making my own bread and seasonings.  Monday night I made taco seasoning from scratch so we could celebrate Bug’s 7th birthday.  It was yummy, but I’m going to have to tweak it a bit to make it to my family’s liking.

Oh, I did find some chocolate that I can have.  It’s not straight chocolate, but it’s better than nothing.  It’s Dark Chocolate Dreams from Peanut Butter & Co out of NYC.  The ingredients list is peanuts, evaporated cane juice, cocoa, cocoa butter, palm fruit oil, vanilla, lecithin (from sunflowers) and salt.  There’s no hydrogenated oil or high fructose corn syrup.  There’s no gluten, it’s certified vegan and it’s all around YUMMY!  Oh, and as a bonus, the jar is recyclable!  lol  I’ve been eating it for breakfast and snacks on toasted slices of homemade cinnamon raisin bread.  It’s also really good just on a spoon!

So if you think that you might have a food allergy, I encourage you to give an elimination diet a chance.  I know I’ve already inspired one of my fellow January baby mommies to give an elimination diet a try…she also has stomach pain after eating and has some bad food eating habits and wants to remedy this.  It’s actually nice to have a little support group.

You might not figure it out on the first try, but then again you might be surprised.  You might feel like a completely new person!

Perhaps Not What We Thought

So after my milk in the fish mishap and my lunch debacle yesterday I started rethinking exactly what was causing my discomfort…I was stumped.  It wasn’t until Darling Hubby came home, looked at the facts of my day (that I ate an egg salad sandwich on bread with no milk and with Miracle Whip which contains no milk and had a pretty quick onset of pain) and suggested that it might be a soy allergy.

Well, duh, that makes total sense…It’s pretty much after every meal or snack with prepared ingredients that I start having pain…turns out that pretty much everything, aside from the fresh fruit/veggies and made from complete scratch stuff, contains some form of soy.  It’s in the cheese crackers, it’s in my bread, my Miracle whip, my vegetable oil, my ice cream, my cream cheese, my chocolate, my candy…the list goes on!  It’s actually really ridiculous just how often soy pops up in pre-packaged foods.

In looking at my daily meals, I was thinking that milk was the culprit because every time I’d have an attack, I’d have some milk product – flavored milk (ovaltine), hot chocolate, ice cream, chocolate candy, cream cheese, cheese crackers, pizza, Hamburger Helper, coleslaw…turns out that all those things have soy…Even during the last week when I’d completely sworn off milk I still had the occasional twinge of pain after eating…it was after consuming the wraps and salad dressing, the fish, and the Miracle Whip (all contain soy) that I had problems.

So, today was the first day of a soy free diet.  I had a cup of Chai with honey and lime juice and a banana for breakfast.  My snack was a Yoplait light yogurt (key lime) and I didn’t have any pain…My lunch was a big bowl of plain pennette pasta, my mid-afternoon snack was an apple, dinner was oatmeal with maple syrup and brown sugar (there’s really nothing left in my house that doesn’t contain soy, so my pickin’s are pretty slim!) and my evening snack was a box of apple flavored raisels and a cup of chamomile tea.  Nothing…I’ve had yogurt and not a twinge. Again it makes me think we’re on to something.  The weird thing is that now I’m actually hungrier more often…probably cause my stomach doesn’t hurt anymore and I’m not afraid to eat.

I’m going to have to do a lot of research to see what all contains soy and what I can substitute for it.  It seems that soy isn’t as well labeled as milk, nuts and wheat allergens are and there are several names that you might not consider to be a soy product.

I’m not 100% sure that we’ve come to the right conclusion, but I’m fairly certain Darling Hubby is right.  My big concern is that soy is found in everything…I’m going to be very limited in what I can eat and I hate to deprive the rest of my family of the things they enjoy eating simply because I can’t have it.  Darling Hubby has already said if I’m going soy free then we are all going soy free for meals where we all sit down together, snacks are a horse of a different color.  I think if this pans out and I really am sensitive or allergic that I’ll be making my own bread for me in my bread machine (everyone else can still eat the store bought bread).  I might look into a hot air popcorn popper so I can have some healthy popcorn rather than the microwave/bagged stuff that I’m sure is laden with soy.  We’ll probably be eating a lot more pasta.  I’ll love eating more of my homemade spaghetti sauce…

As for substitutions, I’ve already found out that the margarine I’ve been using has soy…as well as the unsalted butter in my freezer.  Salted butter is, oddly enough, soy free.  I’m going to have to switch from the vegetable oil, which is made solely from soybean oil to olive oil, which is probably a better switch.  Darling Hubby suggested we could make our own mayonnaise in addition to our own bread.  Even tuna canned in water contains soybean oil.  I’m still planning to do lots of fresh fruits and veggies and make my own sauces and gravies from scratch.

The whole thing is actually really overwhelming.  I’m dreading going to the grocery store Saturday…I’m going to have to look at everything and probably take notes!  Gah!

Ouch, That Hurt

So I’ve been doing pretty well with avoiding all things with milk.  I’ve still had a few twinges of the usual pain, but they’ve been few and far between and don’t last as long as usual, usually just a few minutes

Last night I made the mistake of not looking at the label of what I was eating for dinner.  I made fish fillets, fries and mixed veggies.  Stupid me didn’t look at the fish fillet bag until I started feeling funny about 30 minutes after I polished off 2 fillets and the rest of my plate.  Yep, the breading contained milk.  DOH!  I’m also concerned because it has wheat in it as well…makes me think that it could be a gluten/diary combo issue as I’ve had twinges after eating the wraps, which also contain wheat and soy.  Those twinges, like I said, didn’t last long but they were there.  But, I know I can eat white toast without having issues and I know that contains wheat and soy…

Darling Hubby is on my case to start trying dairy products again.  I really wanted to give myself a couple weeks to 1.) keep track of what I’m eating and when (and if) my stomach hurts again. 2.) to give myself time to adjust to not having certain foods. and 3.) to give myself time to possibly feel human.  When my stomach hurts I’m miserable and end up making everyone around me miserable.  I really just want to curl up in a ball and sleep and not deal with anyone when I’m not feeling good and I just can’t do that, not with 2 kids and a house to keep up on.  I end up being short with everyone, I yell a lot more and I don’t have motivation to do anything, even my beloved crafts or reading.

I might have to go with a fresh fruit/veggie and tea diet…lol  That seems to be the only stuff that I know for sure doesn’t bother me!  I’ve had a cup of chamomile tea today for the first time and I actually really enjoyed it.  I also ate a banana and I’m feeling pretty good (aside from being tired, aching all over and the headache I woke up with, but that’s a whole other issue!)  I know I can eat apples, bananas, fruit cocktail from the can,  strawberries, grapes, tomatoes and lettuce without issue.  I know I can eat mixed veggies (carrots, corn, peas and green beans) and baby carrots.  I’m fairly sure broccoli (cooked) doesn’t bother me.

Tonight I’m double checking that pasta doesn’t bother me.  I’m cooking for craft night again and making pasta, some jarred sauce and some Italian bread.  We’ll see how that affects me. Better make sure I check that pasta and sauce first, huh…you never know now a days.

The major downside of this diet experiment is that fact that I can’t have chocolate…that’s what I’ve been craving lately (it’s like me being pregnant…I wanted nothing more than a big cold sub with lots of turkey and cheese, and  since cold lunch meat was on the banned foods list, it made me want it all the more!)  A friend suggested that I try dark chocolate, but even that contained milkfat.  It’s probably for the best that I’m not eating all the junk food like I was.  I’m gonna lose weight!  lol  I’m already down to 137lbs…that’s 3lbs lower than my weight loss goal when I was doing the 30 Day Shred and 11 lbs lighter than I was when I got pregnant with Fidget, 3 years ago.  I just wish the new size 12/14 jeans that I bought weren’t too loose already!

This is a crazy journey…I’m really hoping that I can figure it out and be able to live a happy life.  I do hate being miserable and not feeling well.

A Health Experiement

Since around the summer of 2007, I started having pain in my stomach after eating.  At first it was tolerable, not happening that often, but now, it seems to happen several times a week.  The question is, what is the culprit that’s causing the issue?

I have a feeling it’s dairy, or at least milk.  I began noticing that when I’d have a big steaming mug of hot chocolate, my stomach would start to hurt almost instantly, well, at least within 30 minutes.  The reason that I don’t think it’s all dairy, including cheese and yogurt, is because for a while I was only eating yogurt and was fine and sometimes I can have mozzerella cheese either sliced or melted on pizza and not have any issue.  I also have a feeling that there is a cumulative effect going on.  If I have milk in the morning, in say a cup of tea, if I eat a yogurt or some pizza later in the day, I’ve already exposed myself to whatever was in the milk that’s bothering me so when I eat other dairy it causes the pain to return.

My plan now, for the next couple weeks at least, is to cut out dairy as best I can and see if I have any improvement.  If I start seeing a decrease in my stomach pain, I’ll gradually add in the yogurt, since it’s easier to digest, and provided there is no issue again, I’ll try cheese.  I also plan to keep track of what I’m eating on what day to see if there is any other correlation between other food and the pain.  Over the summer I seem to remember a week when I ate nothing but homemade chicken Caesar wraps and I never had an inkling of pain…maybe I should eat nothing my wraps and salads…

Oh, and I’ve already cut caffeine out of my diet.  I’m only drinking caffeine free Pepsi (and that’s only for Craft Night…I really only have Pepsi then), which I drank all through Bug’s pregnancy and I’ve switched to decaf chai tea and caffeine free herbal teas.  I’ve noticed a slight decrease in the amount of energy I have most days, but I’ve found that I no longer hit that 4pm wall of exhaustion when my body crashes.

If I fail to determine the cause of the pain, I guess I’ll have to break down and visit a doctor.  I really should go see one as I haven’t been to a non-OB-GYN in years…Bad, I know, but I’m always afraid they are going to tell me the worst…and I just don’t want to hear it.  I’m like my mom and prefer to suffer in silence, even though that silence has a tendency to affect everyone around her.