Embrace the Curl

Once upon a time in my early 20’s, the majority of my hair fell out. It was devistating. My hair was beautiful, long, and thick. But it didn’t matter because my blood sugar had other plans for me. I no longer had my daddy’s super thick hair.

It took years for it to grow. Years. During those years my hair struggled. I tried to grow it out, but my roots were thicker, making my ends look wispy, unkept, and barren. I went through a series of pixie cuts, bobs, and every other hair hatred in between. I’ve never been much of a girly girl, but my identity and confidence definitely took a hit during the regrowth process.

I got my blood sugar under control and the length came back. My hair was still fairly fine, but I at least had a lot of it again. And then I moved to Canada. My hair was angry for a few months. Oily. Dry. Oily. Dry. Oily. Dry. It would not make up its mind. But here we are about 8 months later and its finally settled on a happy medium. I found a stylist that I liked the sound of and set an appointment for a much needed trim. And. She. Was. Amazing.

I explained to my new stylist the history of my hair and my routine (or lack thereof.) I basically wash my hair a couple of times a week, dry it with the warm and cold settings on my fancy new hair dryer that my husband got me for my birthday, and I call it a day. My hair is usually wavy. Or so I thought. We went to shampoo and condition my hair. After towel drying, my new stylist got really excited. “My god, you have ringlets! I’m so jealous!” In my naive mind, I thought everyone had curly hair when it was wet. She was delighted to find that my fancy new hair dryer is equipped with a diffuser and asked if she could show me how to use it and how to embrace my curl. I nervously obliged. She plopped a handful of oil in my hair, scrunched it, and had me flip my head to the side. A few minutes later, I looked like a different person. It turned out that I did have my daddy’s hair after all, just a bit more fine.

So what about post-stylist appointment? Well, I’m still embracing the curl. Of course it’s not as polished as how she did it, but it still looks pretty damn good. I still have to find a happy balance of how much oil to put into my locks, but I think that’s going to change week by week. And it’s easy too! I don’t have to use a ton of heat (or any at all) to tame the mane! It’s easy to just wash it, throw in some of my home made hair cream concoctions, and either blow dry or air dry. From there I can leave it as is or throw it in a top knot without any care. Lazy and simple, just how I like it.

Nutritional Consistency in Children

A year or two after I received a diagnosis of diabetes and had glucose stability issues, nutrition became a huge part of my life. At the start of my nutrition journey, I went into hardcore keto mode (I’m talking true keto, not just super low carb. I mean perfect macros, a ton of vitamina/supplements, fasting, baking soda in my water, full on anti inflammation insanity.) Why? Because it gave my pancreas time to rest. After some time, the ole girl did some significant healing and I’m much more stable than I was before. Now? Definitely not hardcore keto, but I definitely watch what I eat. I do stick to the lower end of the carbohydrate spectrum, try to eat as few processed foods as possible, and try to choke down a cup of hot tea when I remember to. I feel that just like when working in the medical field, no dietary idea is right for the same two people. Everyone is different. I feel that everyone could benefit from a gluten free, no added sugar, and minimally processed foods diet. Some folks need to follow a keto diet. Some folks need to follow Paleo. Some folks are blessed with amazing metabolism and genetics and don’t have to worry about what they put in their face holes.

But what about kids?
Specifically what about kids who bounce back and forth between more than one home? What of their diets, consistencies, and gut health?

When it comes to co-parenting, my husband had to set some boundaries due to conflicts in communication. We feel the need to live by a strict notion of “what happens in the opposing house is none of your business” (for both parties concerned.) Obviously within reason — for instance when our 7yo kid came home with a huge wound on his chin and said it was because he pulled something out of the oven and got burned, obviously some clarification will be sought out. Most other things like discipline, expectations, routine, diet, etc? None of our business, none of their mother’s business.

Despite it being none of my business, as I’m getting the kids’ room tidied up and the bathroom stocked with extra TP that they usually need, I can’t help but to wonder about the effect of the divorce on the kids’ gut health and how the dietary differences between their homes may have influence their health and well-being. If you ask my step kids about added sugars, they will tell you that at Dad’s house they only have it on special occasions and holidays. My oldest stepson constantly asks if different foods have sugar in them. I asked him why he wonders about it so much. His reply was “I want to make sure it won’t make you sick.” Be still, my beating heart. ❤️ But when the kids say that their desserts at Mom’s is usually ice cream every night, I take that with a grain of salt and chalk it up to trying to get more ice cream. (In which, HA-HAH! Joke’s on them. My husband got me an ice cream maker for Christmas so I can make my own healthy ice cream!) However when they state that a lot of their meals are from McDonald’s and Tim Horton’s, I tend to believe it since old fast food bags can be seen piled up and/or falling out when the kids get out of their mother’s SUV. Or when we are cooking together and they make comments about how they like learning how to make things and helping, that a lot of the things we make, Mom makes them from a box. It makes me cringe, but I take a deep breath and remind myself that it’s none of my business. Or is it?

At what point are dietary consistencies in children after a divorce concerning? The oldest has some attention issues, the middle child has constant UTIs and a chromosome condition in which her weight really needs to be watched. The youngest has eczema issues. And all three of my step kids have digestive issues when they come home here, starting with constipation, and ending with them being cleaned out by Saturday night. All of which could be remedied by dietary changes and consistencies. What does one do?? Do we keep introducing them to different types of whole foods and just deal with the blow outs from the fiber? Feed them probiotics? Because goodness, I don’t think I could bring myself to feed them an unhealthy diet. I’m not saying there’s not a bag of cereal in the closet just for them. Sometimes cereal is just more convenient at 6am when you’ve got to leave in 45 minutes in order to get to a hockey game nearly 3 hours away. But a diet overloaded with convenience foods?? I just can’t do it. I pride myself in meal creativity and food prep. Regardless, I just can’t seem to find much information on how kids fair with dietary inconsistencies or how to deal with them.

Time to stock up on more TP!

Holiday Wrap-up

Here’s to almost no sleep for a week.

Here’s to early morning hockey game drives.

Here’s to restlessness and excitement.

Here’s to seeing new friends, exchanging gifts with them, and having play dates with each others’ kids.

Here’s to an amazing meal with the family, and baking cookies for Santa.

Here’s to stockings of PJs and opening a present from 1500 miles away.

Here’s to Jenga and laughter and smiles til bedtime.

Here’s to being puked on at midnight when Santa was supposed to arrive, scrubbing the bathroom, whilst getting your kid into the shower.

Here’s to staying up til 2am washing puke clothes and towels.

Here’s to being Santa at 2am after the puke clothes were clean.

Here’s to wrapping up last minute online notions for friends.

Here’s to being woken up with immense excitement to see that Santa came.

Here’s to spending time together and appreciating one another.

Here’s to unwinding and getting some rest.

Here’s to doing it all again through the new year.

Here’s to a love filled home.

For the Noms

I never had a solid idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Sure, with the way that my mind thinks and operates, how I’m able to consider different opinions and see different sides of things, I really wanted to be a lawyer.  I was compassionate and cared about others, wanting to help them, so I also wanted to be a doctor of some sort or work in the medical field.  Law and Medical school both require far more financial backing than what I was ever privy to.  So in addition to working in event management, I pursued a career in emergency medical services.  I learned that doing something to help others was definitely what I wanted to do in life, but EMS was not the answer.  (I don’t have the patience for people who abuse the system.  Or abuse others.  Or themselves.)  So what’s the solution?

In my early 20’s, I faced some pretty heavy medical issues.  Due to being a carrier for a host of genetic issues, doctors were hellbent on thinking that I had a degree of Marfan’s Syndrome and that my symptoms were caused by a heart defect.  After spending time with a Holter monitor, tilt table tests, and various other stress tests, they simply couldn’t figure it out.  As an EMT student, I was learning about anatomy and was tracking my glucose (and other vitals) for practice.  When I felt one of my syncope episodes coming on, I checked my sugar again just before passing out.  Low and behold, my sugar was plummeting at a rapid pace.  A tech student figuring out what a panel of physicians couldn’t.  /flex  Because I was so young, thin, and otherwise healthy, the possibility of being a diabetic didn’t cross anyone’s mind, but some additional lab work confirmed it.  I was a type 2 diabetic with postprandial hypoglycemia.  A diagnosis only meant prescriptions and a host of misinformation.  They wanted to treat the symptoms, but did nothing for the actual problem.  All varieties of Metformin made me exhaustively sick and I wasn’t about to start shooting insulin.  So what’s the solution?

The solution to both problems was learning about nutrition.  I felt that prescriptions were nothing more than putting a band-aid across a bullet hole.  I knew that I wasn’t the only person facing odd health issues that wanted a more permanent fix than having to take medicine for the rest of my life.  Decades ago these issues weren’t fixed with a pill or an injection.  So I hit the books.  I took my training in anatomy a step further and learned about what we put into our bodies did to us.  If sugar was the problem, why take a pill to better handle the sugar.  Why not just cut out the source of the problem?  I learned about low carb diets, low fat diets, plant based, meat based, paleo, intermittent fasting, and everything in between.  Obviously since I wasn’t a lawyer or a doctor, I couldn’t afford free ranged organic everything, so I learned how to buy the best quality of foods for the budget that I had.  I figured out what was worth splurging on and what I could get away with at a lower quality.  In a matter of months, not years, but months, I cut my A1c in half.  I had to change my body’s homeostasis.  As years passed, my pancreas did enough healing that I’ve been in normal glucose ranges without medications for a few years in a row now.  Along the way, I’ve been able to educate my physicians on my methods, and in turn, have hopefully helped others through them.

For the first time in my life, I’m excited to go back to college.  I’ve put quite a bit of time and effort looking into different programs and credentials.  The goal is to become certified in holistic nutrition – and perhaps even become a registered dietitian – so that I can open my own clinic.  Since the US isn’t as receptive to alternative solutions yet, I’ll start this venture in Canada where the views on healthcare are vastly different.  I want to be able to help people that have a diagnosis for their ailments to find another way to deal with it.  I want to help people change their relationships with food and to become the best versions of themselves.  I already have an opportunity to speak to a small group about the value and basics of nutrition and help them manage healthier choices within their means!  I’m ridiculously excited to turn over a new leaf in life and actually do what I feel that I’m called to do.

Here’s to new adventures! /cheer