Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Roots of a Foodie Blog

The reasons that I ever even considered to start blogging was because people kept asking me about food. Food. Anything about food. Everything about food. Food theory. Food making. Political food history. Food serving. Food sourcing. Food for functions like loosing weight or gaining weight or building muscle or .... You name it.

It's true, food has become a passion. I'm good with food. I'd like to say that at times it is an obsession, but that's not at all true. Though it used to be.

To start, I'm 26 years old, 10 months post-natal and I weigh 105lbs. I know what your thinking... I've heard it all my life... Don't hate me, that's just ridiculous.

Ever since I was young I hardly weighed anything. I was so skinny that I was too embarrassed to wear two piece swim suits. I got made fun of a lot. And no one ever stood up for the skinny kid on the play ground. Making fun of obese kids is politically incorrect. But making fun of skinny kids... Well, we were all alone out there on the lonely playground surrounded by much larger kids.

People would always tell me that I should enjoy being skinny now because I would be fat when I was 30. Now, being closer to 30 than I am to the playground days, I realize that those women were just hoping I would be fat so that they wouldn't feel so bad about themselves.

Being the type of person that takes such comments as challenges, by middle school I determined in my heart to never be fat.

But, mean while my pediatricians told me I was in the unhealthy bracket and prescribed me to eat Ensure and milkshakes with meals on a daily basis. I was certainly confused.

All the while, I grew increasing interested in justice and social action and, ultimately, in where my food came from. And I was gravely disappointed.

So here I stood as a 5th grader. "Skinny as a rail" (as my grandfather would say), drinking Ensure with my veggie burger feeling the weight of this food world that was, frankly, just stupid! I had determination to stay skinny to prove to those fat ladies that I won't console their insecurities, yet force-fed milk shakes, and ethically motivated to ban anything unsustainable or potentially abusive of animals. And I hadn't yet even entered Jr. High.

Food became an obsession.

I can't say I ever had your average eating disorder by all conventional definitions, but I certainly had disordered eating. I knew I was skinny. But I didn't like my body. I didn't like where food came from. And I had those fat ladies to one-up. So I found it safest to bring extreme controle to my eating habits.

By the time I was in college, I was trying to calculate how much food I could eat to survive... Never asking what it took for me to thrive (though I never had valued myself enough to ask that question... But that story is for a different blogpost).

I hoped to save resources on food so as to donate the rest to starving children. It became a game for me. If I could live on just 1000 calories then I would donate the equivalence in money to World Vision. It was bad.

And to further belabor the issue, I was an avid runner. So I probably should have been consuming much over 2000 calories a day rather than less. It's called athletic anorexia. And no one knew I struggled with it. Not even me.

I won't bore you with my detailed journey of healing, but it has been just that... A journey. And it's been mostly through hard earned failures. And crazy grace. And my husband. I'm forever grateful for his perseverance my my life (he sees me for who I am, not for the baggage I carry).

But on this journey I have learned many things. The biggest being this: it it's not bad that I'm skinny as a rail and it's not bad that I care where my food comes from. It's also not bad that I am blessed to thrive and that I don't have to live off of 1000 calories a day.

I guess the hard earned lessons are the best, because I now have a store house of perspective from which I value communion. True communion. And I value locally sourced food. And I know how to eat good fats to loose weight. And I value eating those good fats. And I also value eating store bought pumping pie and cheap turkey when I visit with family on Christmas.

So, here is one of my first entries regarding food. That's my roots. And here are the fruits.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Voice

In the crowd in which I currently find myself blessed to run, the term 'voice' and the phrase 'find your voice' are commonly thrown around. I don't like talking about my voice. I have too much pride. I want to be ahead of the curve, not vulnerable enough to make it apparent that I'm just like the rest and learning about the same things. Maybe that's why I am so filled with questions and too often sit back in insecurity. Pride does that, you know,... Creates a false security that really manifests as insecurity.

I have been known to follow this same pattern in relation to many other topics. Which makes me a poor learner. Or at least a young and foolish learner. But I'm starting to recognize my error. So maybe there is hope for me after all.

The struggle for me is in feeling and in letting people know that I feel. I want to be composed. I want to be knowledgeable. I want to be independent. I don't want for you to know that I'm learning. I don't want for you to observe me grow. I want to grow and to learn but I don't want to do those things in community because then there's no facade that I have it all together. I'm not so sure why it's so important to me to be flawless.

There have been many an opportunity for me to be poured into by other women or men. Or for me to take a risk and ask questions, yet I choose to not receive or risk because I don't want people to see who I really am. Which is a strange fact for me to write out because I have always embraced questions in an academic setting. But maybe 'real life' is different? Or at least for me since I tend to compartmentalize.

The truth is this. It's a risk to grow, because to grow, one needs to ask questions and to take risks. To grow to ones potential, they need to be rooted in community. To feel and express emotion and intellect in community. Which is the struggle for me.

So, in bold attempt to counter the lies, I speak out my questions? What does it look like to find MY voice? What is my stage? What is my topic? What moves me the most?

I reflect and I think I know the answer. Or at least parts of the answers. Maybe it's silly that I struggle with these questions. After all, I write a blog that tries to dive into the topics of sustainability and intentional living... Rooted in the experiences of thin places, and the awareness of connectedness between mind, body and spirit as well as the natural and super natural.

But it seems to me that this blog is not a response to the knowledge of who I am and what I was created to do... But, rather, a seeking out and an awkward birthing of something bigger. It's my step into the dark. It's the active choice to push into the messy in life. It's the small attempt to do all those things I proclaim to be bad at... To be emotionally and intellectually vulnerable in community... To pose questions and to face answers... To find my voice. To sacrifice the pride,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


To begin, I applaud all the mamas who have chosen to breast feed for the healthiest length of time for their family.

In our age of microwave-generation-turned-adults, that's often longer than most mothers (and fathers, I might add) are willing to fight for. I'll let you determine with your own family what it looks like to fight for wholistic living in all things from nursing to formula, to resting to exercise, and every other paradigms that may exist. This is just my family's story.

For me, I always reasoned, "wow, it can't be that hard, why would one ever settle for formula?" And, now, here I am disclosing my own interactions with a REAL decision that REAL people face (no fairy take idealism grounded in unhealthy expectation).

My now 9mo has been nursing since birth. We had a home birth, so from the moment she was born she has been used to the warmth of nourishing herself in moms embrace, near my heart. We love nursing. My husband fights hard to make it successful for us. It is a team effort.

Things got a little more difficult, though, as she grew older and became more fascinated with the world around her. She seemed to be weaning herself. No matter what I did, she would always get distracted and loose interest.

I initially figured it was something she would grow through, but then she started skipping nursings all together. So I figured it was something I needed to grow through, so I started putting us in distraction free environments, but then she would just play with my hair. It didn't seem to matter what I did or didn't do. And the worst part was that since she wasn't nursing, my supply was going down and pumping didn't keep it up enough.

I tried fennel oil and nursing tea, and those helped me to keep my supply up enough to pump a bit. But it still wasn't sufficient.

So, after a week of her skipping nursing all together and only taking bottles of pumped milk, I went through my supply of frozen milk and had to figure out another plan.

Resistant as I was, I researched a lot and decided to start making homemade formula to give her on the days she wouldn't nurse. Of course, we would always start off with nursing, but if that didn't happen, I'd give her some milk in a tippy cup or bottle in between meals. It seemed to work. But we keep trying to nurse.

After a while, my patience would pay off and she would nurse and play on and off during nursing sessions. It became a new season for us, as I was no longer nursing an infant but a very mobile and strong willed baby. It was actually fun!

So now, at 9 months, she still seems to be weaning herself, but we've landed a compromise where we play and nurse rather than just play. And maybe in a few months we will be ready to stop all together. But until then, I still give her formula on occasion and she still nurses. And it feels right for us. Though things change so much, and tomorrow might be different.

Nursing is valuable for a number of reasons. There all sorts of research out there. There's all sorts if testimonies. I don't need to repeat them. But it is a good reminder that nursing our children is beautiful. If for no other reason than that it is how we were created, which means that each time I nurse, both Harper and I are choosing (yes, sometimes fighting) to be who we were created to be. Imperfect, distracted, messy, and all.

That each time I choose to make her formula, I'm also bringing that decision to the Great Physician, who wants to partner with me and with Harper in the middle of whatever season we find ourselves. I don't believe that God frowns on us (like many moms do and like I used to - #confession) for not exclusively nursing. I think He actually takes joy in the journey with us. Same as I also take joy in the journey of Harper becoming so mesmerized by the world that she is too busy to nurse 'perfectly.'

Way to go baby girl, for doing what makes you come alive... Even if I'm still convinced that nursing is healthier for your body than is formula.

But I guess being wholistic requires rolling a bit with the punches and doing what is healthy for ones body, mind and spirit (and community).

Here are the ingredients in my homemade formula. It's based off of a few formulas and nutritional needs that baby's have. Most of my inspiration was from the Winston A. Price Foundation, where you can find a more measured out recipe. I normally don't actually measure everything since I just make formula for one bottle at a time:

Black Strap Molasses
Sunflower Seed Oil
Coconut oil
Cod Liver Oil
Yeast / Desiccated Liver / liquid B-Vitamins
Elderberry concentrate
Acerola powder
Raw milk / keifer
Flack seed oil
(No you don't actually need corn syrup like is in many formulas, nor do you need hydrogenated oils... Those ingredients are nothing like anything found in breast milk)