Thursday, September 12, 2013

About Messianic Mommy's Diet Journey

Plum Tree, Photo by A. Stahl

I wanted to write a bit about my blog for some of my newer readers and help get you caught up with what caused me to create it.  There's been some questioning as of late as to why many of the recipes in the blog are not (as of yet) GAPS recipes. I plan on clarifying that, which is a complicated matter.

I primarily wanted to create this blog to help ease us into a GAPS/Paleo/Primal-ish diet when we were in the process of finding out what was causing my youngest son's cyclic vomiting.  I have a husband who wishes to lose weight (morbidly obese) and myself, a celiac, who has iron deficiency anemia. At the time, this seemed like the most logical choice. Shift towards more clean eating, while pursing an education in dietetics and nutrition, as well as educating myself further in celiac studies and news.  I discussed that a bit in a previous posts here and here.

Generally speaking, I'm not one to keep information to myself, so I wanted a way to disseminate the knowledge that I have been amassing with others, as our ""local"" Celiac Support Group is about an hour away by car, and we do not own a car. I can hear the questions now about why we don't, but suffice it to say, in Germany, cars are quite cost prohibitive and it's easier when you're lower to middle-middle class to save your money and simply plan trips, shopping and so forth around public transportation. It actually is less expensive to live life that way. My in laws have graciously allowed us to use their van, but I can't drive that distance regularly due to gasoline being so expensive. (To give you an idea, the last time I filled our tank half way, it cost over 80€.)

I had a slow cooker, but it broke down this summer in June. I've been actively pricing crock-pots and slow cookers ever since. The one I have my eye on is over 60€. For most people, that's a "Oh, well, that's not too expensive." But, that is rather an investment for us.

Normally this would be OK, I could just do some things here and there without a slow cooker, but I've been having some unexplained medical issues. I've begun to get extremely tired and unable to function. I went for medical tests and everything is in order, except for my ferritin. My iron deficiency is playing up again, even after having had iron infusions in several months, even after having GAPS meals that I've not had time (or energy!) to blog about, and doing all the right things diet wise to improve my condition.

I've been to the dentist and found that I have five cavities. This is not unheard of with someone who has Celiac and Iron Deficiency Anemia. We are addressing this later in the month... and after that, I get to do iron infusions again.

This is what I look like on a good day:

 I asked about doing Paleo/GAPS at my kids' kindergarten and they asked that we stick with their menu. So, I can send things that are Paleo/GAPS with the children, but their entire meals cannot be one or the other. This is frustrating, but it is their right. If we want this to change, we have to cut the children's time at kindergarten by one hour and do meals at home. The difficulty with this choice is compounded with my invisible illness - I have no energy to make a meal and then enforce mealtime. I can do one, or I can do the other. We also cannot afford a mother's helper, Nanny or Tagesmutter to help us out.

Germans are kind of funny about invisible illnesses, especially those that can lend themselves towards depression or isolation. The "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" mentality is still deeply entrenched here. Everyone supposes if I just get out in the sun, or I'm around more people, or do more - I'll have more energy.  It doesn't work like that!

I don't know if you've ever heard of the spoon theory, but that's basically how I have to plan my days. [If you've never read it before, stop here and read it!] I've talked about it a bit before on my other blog, when I mentioned how difficult it is for those of us with invisible illnesses.

 I would do OAMC (once a month cooking). but we don't have a large enough freezer for that. Freezers are an investment... The one we would need to have is over 2,000€.  I just finished investing in a new pantry in our basement and we've not sold the excess shelving that we have from before, or any of the other things we cleaned out, therefore, nothing to put as a down-payment for the freezer.

  I've thought of meal planning, but I don't know how many "spoons" I will have in my reservoir on any given day. Not even a great night's sleep will predict whether I will have more, or less, energy in a given day. (For what it is worth, I slept awesomely last night, but I have no energy today and have made only one meal. I need to make birthday cake for my mother in law.)

I'm unsure how many of you have heard about the inflation we're having with our food, but I've watched as gluten free convenience foods have changed, the boxes have gotten smaller, and more expensive. I've also been watching our produce and it is insane the prices that we are paying right now.  My last grocery trip was for one week's worth of food and I spent over 130€.  You can imagine what it is costing us for a month's worth of food, and this doesn't include anything processed.
I generally go to a local Turkish store for our fat and bones. We've begun being charged for it due to the trouble to set it aside for us, even though we purchase the bulk of our meat goods there. What was free, is now costing us 5-10€ a month in addition to our 60€ meat purchase that lasts us about a month and a half.

My husband, who was terribly gung-ho about the diet, has backed out and said he will only do it when or if I am the one who does all the planning, cooking, purchasing and so forth. I'm not happy about having that much more on my shoulders.  People talk like stay at home moms don't do anything when they stay at home, and I can tell you I do more than my husband who goes to work for 10 hours a day and commutes. While he helps with the children, I do *everything* that has to get done. This includes any errands. He doesn't/cannot drive, so that falls to me. Basically, I single parent. He sleeps here and gets food here, and that's about it right now.

I've been too sick to keep up with all of my reading, so I've not finished Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat, or It Starts With Food and I can't afford to invest in the Gut and Psychology Syndrome book or Internal Bliss - GAPS Cookbook. I know that sounds like whinging to some of you, but getting a copy of Internal Bliss here would cost almost $20US in shipping costs alone, causing the book to be $40 and me paying more taxes on it due to that. I keep hunting up a cheap copy, and keep coming up empty.  So, I've been going through literally thousands of blogs and printing up recipes and organizing them in my own folder so I know what to do when I can get where I can cook again.

My GAPS Diet Recipe compilation - 4" 2 Ring Binder - full to the hilt!

I came to the stark realization a couple months ago that I can't be the one to go on the diet by stage and detox, because, well, I'm the only one running the house.

I would make more soup, but neither my children, nor my husband will eat it. They will choose to have sugar crashes and starve, rather than eat soup. We have three times a month that the children have soup on their menu, and three times a month they will pick the food out and spurn the soup.  I can't afford the waste involved. So, when we eventually go further into the GAPS diet, we will be doing a FULL GAPS Diet rather than by stage.

I found out a couple months ago that my husband is undergoing a huge shake-up in the company that he works for. This means that we're now receiving bankruptcy payments from the bank and for a couple months in a row, our pay has not been in place when we were expecting to have cash in hand for groceries and to run the automatic payments for our housing, heat, water and so on. Also, I found out that my husband not really good at managing our finances. I've now one more thing I have to shoulder, because the other grown adult at the house cannot do it right.

This translates to my food budget has being cut in half, which is making going GAPS almost an insurmountable mountain to climb. I am still holding out hope.  I have cried over the increased prices in food costs, and the no help angle.  If you've heard of the five stages of grief, I've been thought that lots lately.

While all of this has been going on; I have had several people that are newly gluten free that have been begging me for help and recipes for things like the cakes, pies, canning and bento boxes that you've seen regularly featured on my blog as of late.  I have a long, long time of being gluten free and keeping that knowledge to myself or off of my blog (which is my outlet) is rather, well, rude. 

I am trying, above all things holding me back, to hold myself to my mission of making this a primarily GAPS blog.  While doing so, I will be inclusive and share non-Paleo & non-GAPS recipes.  The name of this blog is, after all, Messianic GAPS Diet Journey. This includes the messy bits of figuring that out, and days of not keeping the diet 100%.

Since this is my space, I'm welcome to make it as inclusive as I darn well please.  I will label all of the blog posts as to whether or not they are compliant with GAPS, Paleo/Primal or not. Those that are not; I will do my utmost to include modifications that would help change the recipe to fit those diets.

The only hitch in this plan is,  there are certain holidays that have specific foods that will not lend themselves to the GAPS diet. (Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah,Tu B'Shevat and Purim) Due to our religious beliefs, and having no allergies that preclude forgoing those festive food items; I will feature those on the blog for other people of faith that require gluten free alternatives. Finding truly gluten free recipes for all other holidays than Passover are quite difficult in the Jewish Community, as the five biblical grains (Wheat, Barley, Rye, Oats, Spelt) are so valued in Judaism and in Jewish cuisine.

I do hope that you all understand and that you stick with me while I work out these kinks in our journey. I never expected to be in the diet fully by this time this year, but I had expected to be further along. We had many strides forward off the blog, and all of that was knocked down to it's foundation in July.

Considering my line of knowledge, education, and proclivity to amass great bits of information on the Celiac diet, I will continue to share medical journals and such, even if they do not apply wholly to the GAPS or Paleo/Primal diets. I will also feature new gluten free foods and reviews of those foods that are available in Germany. These items are not Paleo/Primal or GAPS - but this is something that individuals I know in Germany can use.

 If I come upon news articles or studies on the GAPS or Paleo/Primal diets, I will share those as well.

Hopefully this clears up any questions you have about the blog, and I hope that I am able to further help you along. If you have any questions, feel free to just pop those into the comments.

Thank you for sticking with us,


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