When I was a vegetarian for 8 years, I didn’t often eat imitation meat. I didn’t stop eating meat in order to eat crappy imitations of meat (which a lot of imitation meat products seemed to be), so I would just eat something that vegetarian with not resemblance to a meat product at all unless the occasion called for a tofu sausage or veggie burger.

So, now that I am not eating wheat-based food, I am coming across a similar issue. I am eating gluten-free processed stuff here and there to fill in the gaps in my meal plans that I haven’t sorted out yet. I can get almost any imitation of wheat-based baked goods and pastas, but I want to move away from imitation food toward whole food as we ease into this life style. I am used to the wheat-based staples of the western diet, so I am giving myself some time.

Dinners are pretty easy because we had a larger selection of dishes that are naturally gluten-free or use easily substitutable ingredients. Lunches are generally left over dinners or awesome salads (I am good at salads). I am struggling with figuring out a whole food selection of breakfast ideas.

For me, breakfast was usually something with bread or cereal. Those are both out in the long term, and I have to say that I can only take so many eggs in my life! I need some inspiration for whole food, non-egg breakfasts!

I realize that this may just become a conversation between Ravyn, Cliff and Sarah, and me, but does anyone have any good whole food breakfast favorites?

I kind of skipped May and most of June here. That stomach virus I had way back in April, well, it was just the beginning of a particularly unpleasant few months. Long story short, I am never going to eat gluten (intentionally) again. There is a HUGE story behind that, but this isn’t yet the medium to go into it. I will, most likely be posting stuff about the Yoga of gluten-free living though.

In the mean time, the girls and I are on our personally designed retreat at Oma and Opa’s house. After such a rough time, I needed to be taken care of a bit. I highly recommend the Oma treatment. I have had far too much time with the kids, but I haven’t had to clean or cook in over a week, and I have gotten some rest. Matthias, on the other hand, is immensely enjoying having the house to himself and the rare gift of silence!

Just to clean off the dust on the blog a bit, here are a few photos from the last month. I don’t think I’ll get to posting videos tonight, but I have a great one of Clair that needs to go here soon. You can see all of this month’s photos on the Flickr page.

Before we ran away to Oma, I took the girls out strawberry picking with Penny and Micha. Lily basically sat in the field and ate like a kilo all by herself; her friend Callum probably took another kilo as well. Clair picked a few and spent most of the time talking and hoping around and squishing the plants.
June 2012

Once we got to Oma’s, we also had to watch a lot of fussball because it’s the European cup and Germany has made it to the semifinals (where it is sure to lose again Italy). Lily has the Deutschland shirt. It is a bit tight, but it fits good enough considering she has slept through every game.
June 2012

In Oma’s neighborhood, the “Eiermann” (literally ‘egg man’) comes a couple of times a week with fresh produce, meats, dairy and of course, eggs. It’s just like the ice cream man when I was a kid, just not as fun.
June 2012

There is a playground here from when Matthias was a kid (some of the same equipment is still there). I think he liked seeing some photos of the girls on his old stomping ground.
June 2012

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Clair painting.
June 2012

Since I really didn’t want to deal with bored kiddies, I ordered a trampoline for the backyard. It is small, but it does the job!
June 2012

Testing out the zoom in the new digital camera (lily looking adorable)
June 2012

June 2012

Me. Doesn’t it look like I didn’t just have the worst few months in a really long time?
June 2012

Lily eating…. she spends a lot of time doing this
June 2012

Contemplating art
June 2012

Once again, my kid is showing me up.

In recognition of the beginning of Lent last week, I led a Yoga class focusing on discipline and a short discussion about the practice of selective renunciation (like what you do during Lent – give up something for a period of time to help strengthen your will). Some people in the class mentioned what they were with holding in their lives during Lent, and I gave a broader example of this kind of practice to help build discipline in the mind.

I got a nice taste of the benefits of this kind of work recently with having to give up gluten (and also dairy, as it turns out). Without having done a lot of crazy experiments in giving up certain food items in the past, I think cutting out gluten and dairy would be a lot more stressful.

So, here I was thinking I was pretty skilled in this game, and then Clair got into the game. Two weeks ago, she pronounced that she no longer sucks her fingers. Aside from a couple of habitual slips, which she quickly corrected, she has completely stopped sucking her fingers! Just like that!

Perhaps she is just demonstrating how aptly she was named. Her name translates to “clear Truth”. In one commentary of the Yoga Sutras, the concept of Truth (Satya) in her name means not only one who literally tells the truth. When someone is strongly rooted in the practice of Satya, whatever they say is, by definition, Truth. So, my little Satya proclaimed the end of a powerful habit and POOF, it is done. Amazing.

We have asked her why she decided to stop sucking her fingers. She hasn’t really given us an answer. I know something happened at Kindergarten, but she doesn’t seem to be stressed about it. I don’t know if she just noticed that no one else sucks their fingers (there are some thumb suckers). I am going to inquire with the care givers there to see if we’ve missed anything, but she seems quite happy about it so after today, we won’t make a big deal out of it.

Today, however, we had cake. I told her that since it was hard for her to quit, I thought she deserved a cake. She agreed (Elmo cake pan was requested, and mama got a glutin/dairy free cake mix!). The cake sucked, but it was covered in Betty Crocker icing, which is essentially sugar and fat (no gluten or dairy!) so it tasted just fine. Lily loved it as you can see in th photo below. Also, in that photo, you will see her first posed smile! I pulled out the camera, and she put on a smile for the first time! She is getting so big.

cake

smily girls

Matthias was in the mood to do some nice cooking tonight, so we get some healthy meals for the next few days! It is nice when a bunch of vegetables are about to expire and he has energy to make something good out of them.

cooking

Here is an actual post that has very little to do with the kids! That almost never happens these days (I am in a bit of a blogging rut). This is more of a sneak peak into how I approach chronic health issues in general (usually, try lots of things until something works)

So, many moons ago, I followed a book about figuring out what kinds of food disrupt you digestion. Sadly, the conclusion was that BREAD (and pretty much anything made with wheat) was the culprit. I was fortunate not to have severe health issues from it, but my body definitely didn’t appreciate a lot of wheat products.

As an aside, looking back through my old posts, I noticed that is was almost exactly six years ago that I figured this out the first time because I also wrote about Weiberfasching in the same post – how crazy is that?!

So, after the first pregnancy, my digestion actually got a bit stronger, and it didn’t bother me as much. A few years later, I was pregnant with Lily, and my entire body downshifted to low gear. After she was born, I got a bit more energy, but I was still a bit slow.

However, I had one chronic health issue that bothered me after the pregnancy, but I didn’t really think much about it. I have had a stuffy nose for almost two years. During the pregnancy, I didn’t think anything of it because that is one side effect of gestating babies. However, having swollen sinuses for an extended period was starting to wear on me.

A few weeks ago, my friend Christina made an awesome Thai lunch for a few friends and me. She is an amazing chef so I was happy to be part of it. She had a little bread basket out before lunch and I shoved a few pieces of bread in my mouth before the good stuff came out. However, as lunch wore on, my sinuses started swelling until, by the end, I could barely taste because my nose was practically sealed shut.

On the way home, it was like a light went off! Bread, my arch nemesis! So , I stopped eating anything made with gluten. After a few days, I had some noticeable improvement. About a week into this adjustment, Matthias made some pizza with a spelt/wheat mix of flour (it was delicious), and I decided to use it as a test of the gluten factor. That night, as I sat in meditation, I could, literally, feel the blood pumping to my sinuses and they began to close…… sigh, who needs a food nemesis?

So, that was clear enough for me. Aside from some other supplementary things to help my body recover (a Pranic cleanse and just more movement), I am fully wheat free. It has been a week since my sinuses have felt swollen. The only thing I still notice is that they are a bit swollen when I am inverted, but that too is getting better.

My next step is making the kitchen a little more gluten-free so it is easier for us all to eat things together as opposed to me getting a special version of a meal. Plus, of course, there needs to be a new shift in eating habits. The first week was rough because I was kind of fasting just from lack of selection (and not a lot of energy to remedy that thanks to sick kids).. Now, however, I can eat a bit more, and my stomach feels very happy as do my sinuses.

I asked myself if I should go to the doctor about this, and I kind of decided that there is nothing that he can do, and I am certain of my own diagnosis (there is not quick and simple test for gluten intolerance – though there are tests that basically measure how much your body gets stressed from gluten). Aside from that, I suspect he won’t have anything of use to offer. I am not looking for a pill to fix it. Now that I know the root cause, I can adjust and become more aware of my body.

Breathing easily is such a joy!

Christina over at Amiexpat just wrote a great post about the German Health care system. It is the best summary I have read (thanks for all of that research Christina), and I actually learned a lot about the system from it. I have had great experiences with the system here (if not with every doctor I have met).

They treat health insurance here like they do car insurance in the US – everyone must be insured. If you are interested in some knowledge about one kind of socialized medical system, it is a good read.

So, Clair can crawl, but she doesn’t seem to see it as a mode of transport as much as a means to get from where she is sitting to where she wants to be standing. I try to get her to crawl over to me, but she just stands there looking at me as if to say, ‘if I could just walk, I could get to you!’ It kind of makes sense that she thinks that walking is how one gets around since Matthias and I walk, but I figured she would explore everything once she can crawl. At the moment, she is just trying to go from one balancing point to another. From the coffee table to the couch to the recliner to the foot stool and back again, for example. The day I had my surgery, she apparently stood so long that her legs finally gave out. She is getting stronger though.

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She is also testing the baby-proofing hardware. I have baby plugs in most of the electrical outlets (and will do the rest as soon as I can figure out where I put them). Most of the outlets are just the right height for her to put her probing little finger in them. I captured her doing it once on camera before I told her not to do it.

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Surprisingly (to me anyway), is that she actually understands when I tell her not to touch something. I just change the tone of my voice to indicate that she should not be grabbing what she is going for (mostly my gadgets), and she looks at me and takes her hand away. Then, of course, she sticks out her bottom lip and pouts. I had no idea she could already pout! She does seem to get it though. She doesn’t go back for a few of the things we have taught her not to play with (so far). I don’t ready many baby books so I didn’t know that kind of understanding can happen already.

She is also slowly trying to climb over things. Her biggest obstacle at the moment seems to be the step to our balcony. She keeps trying to figure out how to get her foot up that high. I give her a couple of weeks before she figure out how to climb over.

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On another note, my swollen face has gotten better. I didn’t remember to take a photo on the worst day when the lower parts of my eyes also swelled up. Here is the day before that when the Romulan swelling of my forehead was moving down to my eyes. Today, I am just a little puffy. My head still hurts, but I don’t feel nearly as sleepy anymore. It’s a good thing too, because Matthias is down sick with a throat infection now! It just keeps coming, and I am tired. Luckily (or not) Clair has enough energy for all three of us.

not my best look

My great, botox-like forehead kept expanding, and my eyes are a bit puffy today. I look a bit like a Romulan, if you ask me.

I called the doctor to ask if I need to worry about this and was told it is perfectly normal and that the third day usually is the worst with swelling. They could have told me that earlier! I’ve noticed that doctors really don’t like to offer any information in Germany. If you ask, they give you a good answer, but they say it as though it is common wisdom that, for example, my forehead would swell after the surgery.

I am going to put some more ice on my head now…..

Not me, that’s who!! A head wound has some advantages at least until the swelling goes down.

No botox required

surgery sucksand not quite so sleepy. I ended up staying in the hospital mostly because I was sleepy and a little nauseous sometime around sunset (which is rather late here at the moment). The surgery seems to have gone fine though it is tough to drag details out of my doctor. The Basal cell is gone, and I am left with a huge scar on my head. It is about 10 cm!! The doctor cutely left me a few bangs so I can kind of do a fold-over if I want to try to cover my gaping bald spot.

I learned that hospital food in Germany is just as bad as hospital food in the US. I ate bread with butter and a pretzel for breakfast because everything else on my plate seemed really unappealing. The worst was that they gave me decaf coffee!! I kept drinking the terrible coffee in hopes that it had just a bit of caffeine. It didn’t.

I took a picture of my head this morning, and I haven’t decided whether or not to post it. It is kind of nasty. I’m sure it will look a bit nicer once the stitches come out. If I ever lose my hair, I will have one of the ugliest looking bald heads ever. I have two huge dents and a scar from the car accident when I was four, and not I have a scar on the top running perpendicular to it.

I guess it will be a while before I am working on my headstands again.

In other news, Clair has apparently gone insane because of her new found mobility. She was so wound up when Matthias brought her to see me in the afternoon, and it made me tired just looking at her. She crawls all over the place tying to pull herself up on anything she can reach, including other people’s legs. She worked so hard yesterday that she was sweating and kept going until her legs just gave out from under her. Needless to say, it wasn’t hard for Matthias to get he to bed last night. She slept like a brick.

She is exhausted today and has slept most of the time I have been home. Oma and Opa took her for a ride in her stroller when I got home this morning so I could go sleep more. Now that I am up she is taking a super long nap. I got up around noon and had a great lunch with the in-laws. I love having lunch prepared for me at home!

I have had five surgeries in my life (four of which were to repair my body after car accidents, sadly). After the last one, I decided that it would be really great if I never had to go under general anesthesia ever again. Well, it didn’t quite work out.

Tomorrow, will be number six. It is a ‘simple’ procedure, but getting knocked out still bothers me because it makes me feel so helpless. I also hate the feeling of being drugged up. Unless I am administering the drugs, I prefer not to have any! I am fine with pain and recovery (I am quite good at both), but that only comes after the surgery.

Why do I have to got under the knife again? Well, I have to get my scalp repaired after my dermatologist removed a rather larger growth that turned out to be Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC for short). My friend Aparche, who is an awesome dermatologist living in a very sunny place, made a nice analogy describing BCC being like rust on your skin. It kind of stays on the surface, but it needs to be removed before it gets too big (and requires one to get surgery to close the wound properly). Somehow, the analogy makes me feel like an aging boat sitting in the dock.

Another part I don’t like is that I have to stay over night in the hospital. That is the standard procedure when the put you under full anesthesia here. I went home four hours after giving birth, for god’s sake, I should be able to recover from a small head wound at home too! It will give Matthias a nice chance to have an entire day and night with Clair though. His parents are here for backup too, which is really helpful. I also get a night to myself, or at least, a night to spend with some strangers in the same hospital room as me. Given the choice, I’d rather be home. Maybe I can convince the doctor to let me go early.

Anyway, lucky number 6, here I come.