Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Generation to Generation

As a child, I was envious of those who had multiple grandparents.  Except for my mother's mother, all my grandparents were gone before I was born. 
Granny B was a huge part of our lives, especially since we lived in her house until I was about 12.  She was a constant, almost like another parent.  When I heard other kids talk about going to visit their grandparents, I couldn't really relate to their experience.  I never had to go to visit.  She was just there.
Our eldest grandchild is expecting in February.  Our son said, "you know, you will be like Granny B to our grandkids."
That really gave me pause.  A great-grandmother.  Wow.  I mean, I knew, somewhere in the back of my mind, that eventually our grandchildren would have babies, and that would make us great-grandparents, but I wasn't really expecting it this soon.
Not really soon, since Pie is older than we were when we married and started having babies.  but soon in terms of being prepared.  Or in this case unprepared.
We live a couple of hours away from Pie and her husband, not in the same house.  Not even in the same town.  How can we be as close to this baby as we were to our grandchildren?
Back then, when the grandbabies were coming along, we all lived in the same town, and saw each other frequently.  Most Sundays after church everyone came to our house for dinner and spent the afternoon visiting, and playing with the babies.
My mama lived right down the street, so it was less than a block to walk to her house with the babies.  And we all spent hours at the park across the street.
I have already started looking at patterns, getting ready to crochet, or knit, or sew a quilt for the new baby.  Pie says maybe we should get a pack-n-play for when they come to visit.  I hope they will come often.

To me, three of my grandparents were just a handful of faded pictures, and stories told by my parents, aunts and uncles.  I hope we will be much more than that for this baby.  So I have been thinking about what is the role of grandparents and great-grandparents.  As parents, we bear the full responsibility for bringing up our children.  As grandparents, we supplement the parental role, and our role is less about discipline and more about unconditional love.  What will we be as great-grandparents?  In just a few short months, we will begin to find out.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Update: Trim Healthy Mama

Since starting to eat according to this plan, we have seen some interesting developments.
Wick has lost 25 pounds, and 5 inches in his waist.
His blood sugar readings have come down so much, he is using about half the insulin he was using before.
My blood sugar A1C, the three-month average, has gone from 11+ down to 7.6, and is much more stable day-to-day, with fewer highs and lows.
Unfortunately, I have not lost any weight.

So...am I giving up? No.  This is a healthy way of eating, with few processed foods, and lots of protein, fat, and veggies.  We never have to be hungry, with so many snack options that don't affect blood sugar, and are relatively low in carbs and calories.  Wick says he can eat this way the rest of his life, instead of constantly thinking about what he can eat once he gets to his goal weight.

Chocolate, cheesecake, muffins, pudding, pasta--it can all be done by substituting whole foods for the white flour, sugar, rice, and potatoes we used to crave.  And we don't have those cravings any more.  It seems the more we eat carbs, the more we crave them.  It's like an addiction.  And now we are in recovery.

Yes, I would like to lose more than four pounds.  But whether I lose or not, I am getting stronger and healthier, and for now, that, combined with Wick's progress, is enough.

Usual disclaimer:  I have no financial interest in this book, and receive nothing for this review.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Trim Healthy Mama: a book review

Usual disclaimer:  I have no monetary interest in this book, nor do I receive any sort of remuneration for this review.

Our daughter shared this book with us when we had our Christmas together.  Wick ordered it.  I read it.  We are trying to eat a new way: not new foods, for the most part, but a different way of combining certain foods.

Basically, the idea is that within each meal there should be a source of good protein, and either plenty of fats or a higher amount of carbs.

The theory is that one should not combine large amounts of carbs with large amounts of fats.

The authors, sisters Pearl and Serene, use a friendly, chatty style to convey their messages.   Sometimes it feels like sitting in their living room, listening in on their lively conversations.

The overriding message for me is to be more thoughtful about what I eat, focusing mainly on unprocessed foods, instead of depending on pre-made, prepared foods, or going through the drive-through.

The sisters have a long history of searching for healthier ways of eating, from vegan to raw foods.  They share their experiences honestly, both successes and failures, and their research is ongoing.

They begin with sharing their Biblical view of how God intended for humans to eat, and near the end of the book even address hormones, sex, and relationships.

It took me several readings to feel that I was coming even close to understanding how the way of eating works.  I still struggle with when to eat S (satisfying, or higher fat) meals and snacks, and when to eat E (energy, or higher carb) meals and snacks.  I keep going back to the book, and gain a little each time.

For me there are only a couple of issues.  First is the lack of specific guidelines for S or E meals.  The only time I can find a mention of specific carb counts is very near the end of the book.  The sisters say that they do not want their readers to be constantly counting calories, fats, or carbs, but I at least need a little more of a specific guideline.

Second, regarding the recipes:  They are good.  However, the format is problematic for me.  There is a list of ingredients at the top, followed by numbered steps for preparation.  Here is my problem:  due to mobility issues, I try to gather all the ingredients on the table so I can sit down and prepare.  It is frustrating to get half-way through the steps, only to find that a required ingredient was left off the list at the top.

Another recipe issue concerns amounts, which are often vague or unstated.  Since the recipes involve several ingredients with which I was totally unfamiliar, I have no idea where to even start seasoning "to taste".  I had never used stevia, Truvia, Glucommanan, almond meal, or flax meal.  I had no idea how they would react in a recipe, or how to adjust if the taste or texture was off.  The ingredients are quite expensive to waste and then throw away if something does not turn out well.

It is possible to eat according to plan without the special ingredients, but meals will be somewhat limited and could get boring.  The recipes and the special ingredients expand options, and make meals and snacks much more varied and interesting.

Of the two sisters, Serene is the purist, and Pearl is more ... um ... liberal.  Serene will go to great lengths to eat purely, whereas Pearl is more willing to allow shortcuts and time savers.  For example, Serene refuses to use a microwave oven, while Pearl freely zaps her recipes.

We have both found our blood sugars are more stable than before.  We are looking forward to our next lab visit to see how other numbers, such as cholesterol, have reacted.

If you are looking for a 20-pounds-in-20-days weight loss plan, this is not for you.  It is a way of eating to be healthy and fit, with weight loss as a sort of side effect.  Results for us have varied.  In just over five weeks, I have lost four pounds, while Wick has lost ten.  Yes we want to lose weight.  But more than that, we want to be healthier.

We have tried literally hundreds of diets in our lifetime, trying to lose weight.  Losing is often not so much a problem and maintaining the loss.  Most diets don't give much explanation for maintaining.  One is either losing, or going off the diet and then regaining.

I realize some will say that I have not fully explained the content of the book.  I did not intend to.  I am merely making some random observations of what to me is important about this book and these sisters.  They make me laugh; they make me cry;  they give me hope.

For the first time, Wick says this is a way of eating he can do for the rest of his life.  I feel the same.

If you decide you are interested, you can not only get the soft-cover printed book, but also the electronic version.  And once you have read the book, you will want to check out the Facebook sites for ongoing support.

Authours: Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett.  Publisher: Prescott Publishing.  ISBN: 978-938945-00-7.